To determine which site in the vagal motor pathway to airway smooth muscle is most sensitive to depression by barbiturates, we recorded isometric muscle tension in vitro and stimulated the vagal motor pathway at four different sites before and after exposure to barbiturates. In isolated tracheal rings from ferrets, we stimulated muscarinic receptors in the neuromuscular junction by exogenous acetylcholine, postganglionic nerve fibers by electrical field stimulation, and the postsynaptic membrane in ganglia by 1,1-dimethyl-4-phenylpiperazinium iodide (DMPP). We also developed a tracheal nerve-muscle preparation to stimulate preganglionic fibers in the vagus nerve electrically. Activation of ganglia by DMPP or by vagus nerve stimulation was depressed by barbiturates at 10-fold lower concentrations than those depressing the activation of postganglionic nerves or the neuromuscular junction. These findings suggest that the postsynaptic membrane in parasympathetic ganglia is the site in the vagal motor pathway most sensitive to depression by barbiturates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982


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