Synaptic Connections to Phrenic Motoneurons in the Decerebrate Rat
As Bianchi et al. (2) point out in their recent review of respiratory neurophysiology, the rat is becoming the “animal of choice” for experimentation. This statement is particularly true for neuroanatomical tracing experiments. However, anatomical tracing often does not identify neurons as respiratory nor does it indicate the excitatory or inhibitory nature of interconnections. This information is provided by electrophysiological experimentation, and has mostly been obtained from earlier experiments on cats. It is therefore important to discover whether such information about functional connections among respiratory neurons in cats is also true of rats, rather than to assume that the neuronal organisation is similar. We set out to discover the determinants of phrenic motoneuron membrane potential trajectories in decerebrate rats in a series of projects using electrophysiological techniques. The projects are described in “Results” in separate sections; each with a brief review of previous knowledge and our findings. We have emphasised points of difference between rats and cats.
KeywordsPhrenic Nerve Synaptic Connection Nucleus Tractus Solitarius Experimental Brain Research Respiratory Neuron
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