Quantification of membrane properties of trigeminal root ganglion neurons in guinea pigs

J Neurophysiol. 1986 May;55(5):995-1016. doi: 10.1152/jn.1986.55.5.995.


Passive and active (voltage- and time-dependent) membrane properties of trigeminal root ganglion neurons of decerebrate guinea pigs have been determined using frequency-domain analyses of small-amplitude perturbations of membrane voltage. The complex impedance functions of trigeminal ganglion neurons were computed from the ratios of the fast Fourier transforms of the intracellularly recorded voltage response from the neuron and of the input current, which had a defined oscillatory waveform. The impedance magnitude functions and corresponding impedance locus diagrams were fitted with various membrane models such that the passive and active properties were quantified. The complex impedances of less than one-quarter of the 105 neurons which were investigated extensively could be described by the complex impedance function for a simple RC-electrical circuit. In such neurons, the voltage responses to constant-current pulses, using conventional bridge-balance techniques, could be fitted with single exponential curves, also suggesting passive membrane behavior. A nonlinear least-squares fit of the complex impedance function for the simple model to the experimentally observed complex impedance yielded estimates of the resistance of the electrode, and of input capacitance (range, 56 to 490 pF) and input resistance (range, 0.8 to 30 M omega) of the neurons. The majority of trigeminal ganglion neurons were characterized by a resonance in the 50- to 250-Hz bandwidth of their impedance magnitude functions. Such neurons when injected with "large" hyperpolarizing current pulses using bridge-balance techniques showed membrane voltage responses that "sagged" (time-dependent rectification). Also, repetitive firing commonly occurred with depolarizing current pulses; this characteristic of neurons with resonance in their impedance magnitude functions was not observed in neurons with "purely" passive membrane behavior. A nonlinear least-squares fit of a five-parameter impedance fitting function based on a membrane model to the impedance locus diagram of a neuron with resonance yielded estimates of its membrane properties: input capacitance, the time-invariant part of the conductance, the conductance activated by the small oscillatory input current, and the relaxation time constant for this conductance. The ranges of the estimates for input capacitance and input resistance were comparable to the ranges of corresponding properties derived for neurons exhibiting "purely" passive behavior.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiology*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Membrane Potentials*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiology*