, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 45–52 | Cite as

Micromolar copper modifies electrical properties and spontaneous discharges of nodose ganglion neurons in vitro

  • Fernando C. Ortiz
  • Cecilia Vergara
  • Julio Alcayaga


Copper plays a key role in aerobic cell physiology mainly related to mitochondrial metabolism. This element is also present at higher than basal levels in some central nuclei and indeed, current evidence support copper’s role as a neuromodulator in the central nervous system. More recent data indicate that copper may also affect peripheral neuronal activity, but so far, there are not detailed descriptions of what peripheral neuronal characteristics are targeted by copper. Here, we studied the effect of physiological concentration of CuCl2 (μM range) on the activity of peripheral neurons using a preparation of nodose ganglion in vitro. By mean of conventional intracellular recordings passive and active electrical membrane properties were studied. Extracellular copper modified (in a redox-independent manner) the resting membrane potential and the input resistance of the nodose ganglion neurons, increasing the excitability in most of the tested neurons. These results suggest that Cu2+ modulates the activity of nodose ganglion neurons and support nodose ganglion in vitro preparation as a simple model to study the subcellular mechanisms involved in the Cu2+ effects on neuron electrical properties.


Copper Excitability Primary sensory neurons Nodose ganglion Vagal afferents 



Financial support by Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT, Chile), project 1080670 (to CV).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando C. Ortiz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cecilia Vergara
    • 1
  • Julio Alcayaga
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Fisiología Celular, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Neurophysiology and New Microscopes LaboratoryINSERM U603, CNRS UMR 8154, University of Paris DescartesParisFrance

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