In order to explore the role of catecholamine and Ca2+ in the synaptic transmission from taste cells to sensory nerve terminals, the effects of various agents added to an artificial solution perfusing the lingual artery on the frog taste nerve responses were examined. The injection of reserpine or guanetidine, which are catecholamine-depleting agents, led to a great reduction of the frog taste nerve responses. The addition of catecholamines to the perfusing solution did not practically enhance the spontaneous impulse discharges, but did recover the response to all the taste stimuli examined. Norepinephrine was most effective and is the most likely candidate for the transmitter. The enhancement of the responses by norepinephrine was suppressed by desipramine, cocaine, or imipramine, which suggests that the enhancement was brought about by incorporation of norepinephrine into taste cells. In a previous paper (Nagahama, S., Y. Kobatake, and K. Kurihara, 1982. J. Gen. Physiol. 80:785), we showed that the responses to the stimuli of one group depended on Ca2+, cGMP, and cAMP added to the perfusing solution and those to the stimuli of another group did not depend on these agents. After the injection or addition of reserpine to the lingual artery, which probably modified injection or addition of reserpine to the lingual artery, which probably modified the permeability of the artery, the responses to the stimuli of the latter group also came to exhibit dependences on these agents, which indicates that the responses to all the taste stimuli have dependences on Ca2+, cGMP, and cAMP.

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