Spike generation from dorsal roots and cutaneous afferents by hypoxia or hypercapnia in the rat in vivo

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Abstract

The present study aimed at investigating the responsiveness of different parts of the primary afferent neurones to a brief hypoxia, hypercapnia or ischaemia under in vivo conditions. Action potentials were recorded in separate groups of anaesthetized rats from (i) the peripheral end of the central stump of the cut L3, L4 or L5 dorsal root (dorsal root preparation); (ii) the central end of the peripheral stump of the cut saphenous nerve (saphenous-receptor preparation); (iii) the distal end of a segment of the saphenous nerve cut at both ends (axon preparation). In paralysed animals interruption of artificial ventilation for 20-60 s elicited or increased the frequency of action potentials in both the dorsal root and saphenous-receptor preparations. Activation of these preparations was also achieved by inspiration of gas mixtures containing 10-0% oxygen (mixed with nitrogen) or 20-50% carbon dioxide (mixed with oxygen) which elicited in the blood a decrease in P(O2) or an increase in P(CO2) with a fall in pH. Occlusion of the femoral artery for 3 min also caused spike generation in the saphenous-receptor preparations with little alteration in blood pressure. All these stimuli failed to evoke action potentials in the axon preparations. Systemic (300 mg kg-1 s.c.) or perineural (2%) capsaicin pretreatment failed to inhibit the effect of hypoxia, hypercapnia or ischaemia, indicating a significant contribution of capsaicin-insensitive neurones to the responses. It is concluded that central and peripheral terminals but not axons of primary afferent neurones are excited by a brief hypoxia or hypercapnia and the peripheral terminals by a short local ischaemia as well. Excitation of central terminals by hypoxia or hypercapnia revealed in this way an antidromic activation of dorsal roots in response to natural chemical stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Physiology
Volume84
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physiology (medical)

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