The effects of QX-314 on medullary respiratory neurones

Steven Mifflin, Diethelm W. Richter

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The synaptic and current-evoked responses of respiratory neurones located in the nucleus of the tractus solitarius, the para- and retroambigual regions and the nucleus ambiguus, were examined after voltage-dependent sodium currents were blocked by intracellular application of the quaternary lidocaine derivative QX-314. (1) QX-314 abolished orthodromically and antidromically evoked action potential discharge. Only antidromic action potentials recovered during negative DC current injection. (2) QX-314 did not alter the amplitude or duration of small and short excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials evoked by vagus or superior laryngeal nerve stimulation. Larger and longer waves of spontaneous membrane depolarizations, however, were slightly diminished. (3) The repetitive discharge evoked by depolarizing current pulses was blocked by QX-314. Positive current pulses produced less membrane depolarization than under control and often evoked only a single action potential at the beginning of the pulse, indicating that QX-314 interferes with the processes responsible for repetitive firing. (4) When fast spike discharges were completely blocked, positive current pulses occasionally evoked depolarizing 'spikes' and potentials which were followed by a hyperpolarization. We conclude that a noninactivating sodium inward current and calcium currents contribute to the electroresponsiveness of respiratory neurones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Sep 1987


  • Calcium current
  • QX-314
  • Repetitive discharge
  • Respiratory neuron


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