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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Sensory receptors in the anterior uvea of the cat's eye. An in vitro study.

PURPOSE. To identify electrophysiologically the functional types of sensory fibers innervating the iris and the ciliary body of the cat's eye. METHODS. The uveal tract tract of cat's eye was excised and placed in a superfusion chamber. Recordings were made from single afferent units of ciliary nerve branches responding to mechanical stimulation of the iridal surface, the ciliary body, and the choroid with a nylon filament or a glass rod. Chemical sensitivity was explored by applying acetic acid, hypertonic NaCl, and bradykinin. Warm (60 degrees C) and cold (4 degrees C) saline and a servocontrolled thermode were used for thermal stimulation. RESULTS. Thirty per cent of the studied population of sensory units (n = 95) were spontaneously active when the recording was started. Approximately 30% of the fibers conducted in the lowest range of the A-delta group; the remaining 70% were C fibers. Sustained mechanical stimulation of the receptive area elicited a tonic response in approximately 60% of the units, and a phasic response in the remaining 40%. Exposure of the receptive field of mechanosensitive fibers to 600 mM NaCl evoked a long-lasting discharge in 50% of the units; application of 1 to 10 mM acetic acid elicited a short discharge in 30% of the fibers, often followed by inactivation. Bradykinin (1 to 100 microMs) produced a long-lasting response in almost 50% of the units. Warming the receptive field recruited 20% of the explored units, whereas 17% were activated by low temperature. CONCLUSIONS. Two main functional types of sensory fibers innervating the iris and the ciliary body were distinguished: (1) mechanoreceptors, corresponding to afferent units sensitive only to mechanical stimuli were generally silent at rest, had relatively higher force thresholds, and discharged phasically in response to long-lasting mechanical stimulation; (2) polymodal nociceptors, which were activated by mechanical as well as by chemical and/or thermal stimuli, usually displayed spontaneous activity, had lower force thresholds, and fired tonically upon sustained mechanical stimulation.[1]


  1. Sensory receptors in the anterior uvea of the cat's eye. An in vitro study. Mintenig, G.M., Sánchez-Vives, M.V., Martin, C., Gual, A., Belmonte, C. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. (1995) [Pubmed]
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