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Corticofugal influence on taste responses in the parabrachial pons of the rat



Corticofugal influence on taste responses in the parabrachial pons of the rat



Brain Research 530(1): 73-84



Although the anatomy of centrifugal input to gustatory neural structures has been described, little is known of the physiological mechanisms that convey this influence or of their functional significance. As a first step in the investigation of these issues, the effect of a reversible lesion in the gustatory neocortex (GN) on the neural code for taste in the parabrachial nucleus of the pons (PbN) was studied in rats. Electrophysiological responses to taste stimuli bathed over the tongue were recorded from single units in the PbN before, after and following recovery from an infusion of procaine-HCl into the GN. Test stimuli consisted of sapid solutions of NaCl (0.1 M), HCl (0.01 M), sucrose (0.5 M), Na-saccharin (0.004 M) and quinine-HCl (0.01 M). Infusions of procaine into the GN were correlated with both specific and nonspecific effects on the responsivity to gustatory stimuli in the PbN. Specific effects included: (1) changes in the magnitude of response to some tastants, but not others, in a given PbN unit, (2) changes in the across unit patterns produced by sweet stimuli and (3) the appearance of OFF responses in a subset of PbN units. Nonspecific effects were evidenced by changes in the spontaneous rates of activity and by enhancement or suppression of responses across all the tastants tested in a subset of PbN units. Comparison of these results with reports on the effects of decerebration suggests that some of these effects may be accounted for by interruption of the descending input from the GN to the PbN. In addition, the stimulus-specific effects that were noted followed procaine infusion into the GN provide support for the suggestion that the GN specifically modifies the electrophysiological patterns that are evoked by salient taste stimuli.

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Accession: 007165061

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 2271954

DOI: 10.1016/0006-8993(90)90658-x


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