Morphological and membrane properties of young rat lumbar and thoracic dorsal root ganglion cells with unmyelinated axons

I. Nagy, L. Urban, C. J. Woolf

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Membrane and morphological properties of thoracic (Th9-13) and lumbar (L2-5) dorsal root ganglion cells have been investigated in an in vitro dorsal root ganglion (DRG) preparation from 14-day-old rats using intracellular recordings and the intracellular injection of Neurobiotin. The passive and active membrane properties of 47 DRG cells with conduction velocities (CV) less than 0.81 m/s were studied, which were considered to possess unmyelinated axons. The action potentials elicited by the stimulation of peripheral nerves or the dorsal roots were characteristic of C-cells, with long duration, inflexion on the falling phase and long lasting after hyperpolarization. Input resistance of the C-cells varied between 16 and 158 Mω and were significantly higher in thoracic than in the lumbar ganglia. Cells in the more cranial levels also tended to be smaller than those in the caudal levels with a mean cross sectional area of 301 ± 32.5 μm2. Twenty-five percent of the cells from both regions showed an inward rectification. The distribution of CVs, input resistances and cross sectional areas were non-normal. While a weak correlation was found between the conduction velocity and input resistance of the cells, no correlation was present between the size of the perikarya and conduction velocity or the input resistance. These results show that by the 14th day of postnatal development membrane and morphological parameters approach those of adult rats. They also suggest that in cells with unmyelinated fibres, the size of the perikaryon does not predict the thickness of the axon, and that this cell population is heterogeneous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-200
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 23 1993


  • C-fiber, Membrane property
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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