Preganglionic axons from the third thoracic spinal segment fail to induce long-term potentiation in the superior cervical ganglion of the cat

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1992;70 Suppl:S27-31. doi: 10.1139/y92-240.


A stimulus train to preganglionic axons produces long-term potentiation (LTP) of population responses of sympathetic ganglion cells evoked by the same or by other converging axons. The present study shows that preganglionic axons emerging from the spinal cord in different thoracic rami, and converging onto a common pool of ganglion cells that innervate a single target, differ in their ability to induce LTP. In anesthetized cats under partial nicotinic block with hexamethonium, the nictitating-membrane (NM) contraction evoked by stimulation of the first (T1) and third (T3) thoracic white rami (WR) was recorded. Each ramus produced a contraction of similar amplitude. In contrast, the homosynaptic potentiation produced by a 40-Hz 10-s train differed markedly. T1WR produced a potentiation of duration comparable to that produced by stimulation of the cervical sympathetic trunk, while T3WR produced either no potentiation or a potentiation of much shorter duration. The NM response evoked by T3WR, however, was potentiated by similar extent and duration as was the response evoked by T1WR when the train was applied to T1WR (heterosynaptic LTP). This suggests that the ganglionic synapses made by T3WR possess the mechanism for expressing LTP. Conversely, T3WR was ineffective at potentiating heterosynaptically the NM response evoked by T1WR. These results suggest that the ability to produce or release the LTP inducer varies markedly among sympathetic preganglionic neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Sympathetic / cytology
  • Ganglia, Sympathetic / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Nictitating Membrane / drug effects
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology