Identification of C1 presympathetic neurons in rat rostral ventrolateral medulla by juxtacellular labeling in vivo

Ann M. Schreihofer, Patrice G. Guyenet

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227 Scopus citations


The rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) contains barosensitive, bulbospinal neurons that provide the main supraspinal excitatory input to sympathetic vasomotor preganglionic neurons. However, the phenotype of the critical RVLM cells has not been conclusively determined. The goal of the current study was to identify the proportion of electrophysiologically defined, putative, presympathetic RVLM neurons that are C1 cells. We used a juxtacellular labeling technique to individually fill spontaneously active, barosensitive, bulbospinal RVLM neurons with biotinamide following electrophysiological characterization in chloralose-anesthetized rats. To determine whether these neurons could be classified as C1 cells, the biotinamide-labeled cells were processed for detection of tyrosine hydroxylase. The majority of barosensitive bulbospinal RVLM neurons were tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive (TH-ir; 28 of 39). All of the barosensitive bulbospinal RVLM neurons with axonal conduction velocities in the C fiber range (<1 m/second) were TH-ir (n = 16), whereas faster conducting cells (1 to 7 m/second) were either lightly TH-ir (n = 12) or not detectably TH-ir (n = 11). Adjacent respiratory-related RVLM units labeled with biotinamide were not detectably TH-ir (n = 10). To verify that TH-ir cells were indeed adrenergic, a subset of barosensitive bulbospinal cells labeled with biotinamide were examined for phenylethanolamine N- methyltransferase immunoreactivity (PNMT-ir). Three slowly conducting cells had detectable PNMT-ir, and two fast-conducting cells had no detectable PNMT- ir. These results indicate that the majority of bulbospinal RVLM neurons with putative sympathoexcitatory function are C1 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-536
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Nov 1997


  • Adrenergic neurons
  • Arterial pressure
  • Medulla oblongata
  • Sympathetic vasomotor tone
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase


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