Sympathetic preganglionic neurons in the isolated spinal cord of the neonatal rat

Kevin E. McKenna, Lawrence P. Schramm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A preparation of the isolated spinal cord of the neonatal rat was developed for the study of sympathetic preganglionic neurons (PGNs). PGNs were identified for extracellular single unit recording by their location and by antidromic activation by ventral root stimulation. PGNs could be synaptically activated by stimulation of the dorsal root and spinal pathways. Spontaneous firing was observed in 18% of the PGNs. The average firing rate was 1 Hz with a range of 0.3 to 2 Hz. PGNs (and motoneurons) were visualized by incubating vental roots in horseradish peroxidase (HRP) solutions. The location and morphology of PGNs were similar to those reported in studies using adult animals. Primary afferent fibers were visualized by incubating dorsal roots in HRP solutions. Dorsal root projections appeared mature in the neonatal rat. Primary afferents did not appear to project directly to PGNs. It is concluded that PGNs are viable in this preparation and that spinal sympathetic systems are relatively mature in the neonatal rat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • horseradish peroxidase
  • neonatal rats
  • sympathetic preganglionic neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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