Ongoing electrical activity of superior cervical ganglion cells in mammals of different size.
The ongoing synaptic activity of superior cervical ganglion cells in adult mammals was examined in situ by intracellular recording in anesthetized mice, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits. The proportion of neurons exhibiting subthreshold and suprathreshold synaptic activity during a standard period of observation was least in a small mammal like the mouse (30%), intermediate among neurons of mammals of intermediate size such as the hamster and rat (48% and 45%, respectively), and greatest in the largest animals in the series, the guinea pig (89%) and rabbit (91%). Ganglion cells in all species fell silent after transection of the cervical trunk. The average frequency of synaptic activity among tonically active cells also increased with animal size, being least in the mouse (1.0/second) and greatest in the rabbit (6.4/second). This variation of ongoing synaptic activity in sympathetic ganglion cells may reflect the demands of progressively larger peripheral targets on relatively fixed populations of autonomic neurons.
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