Modulation of the sympathetic response to acute hypoxia by the caudal ventrolateral medulla in rats

Daniel A. Mandel, Ann M. Schreihofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hypoxia elevates splanchnic sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) with differential effects during inspiration and expiration by unresolved central mechanisms. We examined the hypothesis that cardiovascular-related neurones in the caudal ventrolateral medulla (CVLM) contribute to the complex sympathetic response to hypoxia. In chloralose-anaesthetized, ventilated, vagotomized rats, acute hypoxia (10% O2, 60 s) evoked an increase in SNA (103 ± 12%) that was characterized by a decrease in activity during early inspiration followed by a prominent rise during expiration. Some recorded baro-activated CVLM neurones (n = 13) were activated by hypoxia, and most of these neurones displayed peak activity during inspiration that was enhanced during hypoxia. In contrast, other baro-activated CVLM neurones were inhibited during hypoxia (n = 6), and most of these neurones showed peak activity during expiration prior to the onset of hypoxia. Microinjection of the glutamate antagonist kynurenate into the CVLM eliminated the respiratory-related fluctuations in SNA during hypoxia and exaggerated the magnitude of the sympathetic response. In contrast, microinjection of a GABAA antagonist (bicuculline or gabazine) into the CVLM dramatically attenuated the sympathetic response to hypoxia. These data suggest the response to hypoxia in baro-activated CVLM neurones is related to their basal pattern of respiratory-related activity, and changes in the activity of these neurones is consistent with a contribution to the respiratory-related sympathetic responses to hypoxia. Furthermore, both glutamate and GABA in the CVLM contribute to the complex sympathetic response to acute hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-475
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Physiology
Volume587
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2009

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