Receptive fields and responsiveness of single fibers of the glossopharyngeal (IXth) nerve were investigated using electrical, gustatory (NaCl, quinine HCl, acetic acid, water, sucrose, and CaCl2), thermal, and mechanical stimulation of the single fungiform papillae distributed on the dorsal tongue surface in frogs. 172 single fibers were isolated. 58% of these fibers (99/172) were responsive to at least one of the gustatory stimuli (taste fibers), and the remaining 42% (73/172) were responsive only to touch (touch fibers). The number of papillae innervated by a single fiber (receptive field) was between 1 and 17 for taste fibers and between 1 and 10 for touch fibers. The mean receptive field of taste fibers (X = 6.6, n = 99) was significantly larger than that of touch fibers (X = 3.6, n = 73) (two-tailed t test, P less than 0.001). In experiments with natural stimulation of single fungiform papillae, it was found that every branch of a single fiber has a similar responsiveness. Taste fibers were classified into 14 types (Type N, Q, A, NA, NCa, NCaA, NCaW, NCaAW, NCaWS, NQ, NQA, NQAS, NQWarm, Multiple) on the basis of their responses to gustatory and thermal stimuli. The time course of the response in taste fibers was found to be characteristic of their types. For example, the fibers belonging to Type NQA showed phasic responses, those in Type NCa showed tonic responses, etc. These results indicate that there are several groups of fibers in the frog IXth nerve and that every branch of an individual fiber has a similar responsiveness to the parent fiber.

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