Modulation of rat chorda tympani nerve activity by lingual nerve stimulation.
1. A subpopulation of lingual nerve (LN) fibers surround and/or terminate in taste buds in fungiform papillae. One possible function of these fibers is to modulate chorda tympani fiber (CT) or taste responses. To test this hypothesis, the rat LN was stimulated electrically at various voltages (to 20 V), and single- and multiunit CT responses to water-0.1 M NaCl cycles were recorded before, during, and after LN stimulation. 2. When a thermally controlled water-0.1 M NaCl stimulus cycle was applied onto the tongue's surface, the surface temperature remained constant, independent of the stimulation voltage. In the absence of a liquid stimulus, the tongue's surface temperature increased approximately 4 degrees C upon LN stimulation for voltages > or = 5 V. This temperature increase, caused by vasodilation by way of the axon reflex flare mechanism, was taken as evidence that LN stimulation induces peptide release. 3. Comparison of CT activity before LN stimulation with the activity either during or after stimulation revealed statistically significant changes in CT activity. During LN stimulation the CT activity decreased. After LN stimulation, the variability in amount of CT activity increased. 4. In rats treated postnatally with subcutaneous injections of capsaicin to reduce or eliminate polymodal nociceptors, LN stimulation did not produce increases in the tongue's surface temperature or changes in CT activity. 5. Changes in CT activity could be detected seconds after LN stimulation, suggesting that the intragemmal and/or perigemmal LN fibers modulate CT activity. 6. The physiological implications of this study suggest that CT responses to salt can be modulated by endogenous compounds (probably peptides), eating foods that activate LN responses (e.g., foods that are very acidic or contain capsaicin) may modulate taste responses, and peri- and intragemmal fibers should be considered an integral part of the taste receptor system.
Wang, Y; Erickson, RP; Simon, SA
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