Possible synaptic connections of expiratory neurons in the medulla of newborn rat in vitro

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Abstract

TO elucidate synaptic interactions between expiratory (Exp) and other respiratory neurons in the ventrolateral medulla of brain stem–spinal cord preparations from newborn rats, we analyzed postsynaptic potentials in Exp and a subclass of inspiratory (Insp) neurons using whole-cell recordings. About 72% of the Exp neurons (Exp-p-i) showed Clγ-dependent synaptic inhibition during the Insp and pre/post-Insp phases, corresponding to the active phase of the Insp and pre-inspiratory (Pre-I) neurons, respectively. The other 28% neurons (Exp-i) received Cl−-dependent inhibition during the Insp phase only. Some Insp neurons showed reversed IPSPs during the active phase of Exp-p-i after Cl− loading. We suggest the existence of inhibitory connections from Pre-I and Insp to Exp and from Exp to Insp neurons. Basic synaptic connections among respiratory neurons similar to those in intact adult mammals may already exist in newborn rats.

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