Single unit activity of dopaminergic neurons in freely moving cats

George F. Steinfels, James Heym, Barry L. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Single unit activity was recorded from the area of the substantia nigra in freely moving cats. A sub-population of these neurons had the following characteristics: long action potential durations (2-4 msec); relatively slow discharge rates (2-6 spikes/sec); firing as single spikes along with periods of bursting activity in which spike amplitude successively decreased; suppression of unit activity by systemic injection of apomorphine and increased activity after systemic injection of haloperidol. These characteristics are similar to those of identified dopamine neurons recorded in chloral hydrate anesthetized or peripherally paralyzed rats. Therefore, based upon these physiological and pharmacological similarities, this study represents the first systematic report providing evidence for recording the activity of dopaminergic neurons in freely moving cats. In addition, when these cells were studied across the sleep-waking cycle they displayed little variation in firing rates between waking, slow wave sleep and REM sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1435-1442
Number of pages8
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 5 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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