Mechanical stimulation of neurites generates an inward current in putative aortic baroreceptor neurons in vitro

J. Thomas Cunningham, Ruth E. Wachtel, François M. Abboud

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We investigated the responses of putative aortic baroreceptor neurons to mechanical stimulation of their processes. Putative aortic baroreceptor neurons were identified by applying the carbocyanine dye DiI to the adventitia of the aortic arch of anesthetized rats. After at least 1 week, the nodose ganglia were removed and the neurons were cultured. Within 2-3 days, neurite outgrowth was evident on many neurons. The soma was voltage- clamped using whole cell patch clamp techniques while the neurites were deformed with pneumatic ejection of bath solution at 5-15 psi using a glass pipette (7-15 μm) positioned at least 50 μm from the neurite. Mechanical stimulation induced an inward current in 15 out of 17 putative aortic baroreceptor neurons. The magnitude of the current was related to the intensity of stimulation. The current was blocked by 20 μM gadolinium (n = 11), a reported blocker of mechanically sensitive ion channels, or by incubating the cells overnight in 10 μM phalloidin, which binds to actin filaments (n = 5). We conclude that mechanical deformation of neurites of putative baroreceptor neurons activates a mechanosensitive inward current in the soma and that the cytoskeletal actin filaments are involved in the generation of this current.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 May 1997


  • Baroreceptor neuron
  • Cytoskeletal actin
  • Ion channel gating
  • Mechanoreceptor
  • Nodose ganglion


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