Electrophysiological and functional identification of different neuronal types within the nucleus ambiguus in the cat

Brain Res. 1983 Oct 31;277(2):231-40. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(83)90930-7.


Extracellular single neuron recording in nucleus ambiguus demonstrates the existence of different neuronal classes within its electrophysiological limits. Laryngeal motoneurons were identified by their antidromic activation from the recurrent laryngeal and vagus nerves. Interneurons were identified by their antidromic activation from the contralateral cervical spinal cord. Stimulation of the ipsilateral superior laryngeal nerve activated synaptically all laryngeal motoneurons recorded but not interneurons. Most motoneurons and all interneurons showed spontaneous discharges during the inspiratory phase of the respiratory cycle. A few expiratory motoneurons were also recorded. In addition to laryngeal motoneurons and interneurons vagal stimulation also activated a population of efferent neurons located in the nucleus ambiguus with firing patterns not related to respiration. Functional implications of described findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Laryngeal Muscles / innervation
  • Medulla Oblongata / cytology
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons, Efferent / physiology
  • Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve / physiology
  • Respiration
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission*
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology