Intrinsic chemosensitivity of rostral ventrolateral medullary sympathetic premotor neurons in the in situ arterially perfused preparation of rats

Tadachika Koganezawa, Julian F R Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Brainstem hypoperfusion is a major excitant of sympathetic activity triggering hypertension, but the exact mechanisms involved remain incompletely understood. A major source of excitatory drive to preganglionic sympathetic neurons originates from the ongoing activity of premotor neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons). The chemosensitivity profile of physiologically characterized RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons during hypoxia and hypercapnia remains unclear. We examined whether physiologically characterized RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons can sense brainstem ischaemia intrinsically. We addressed this issue in a unique in situ arterially perfused preparation before and after a complete blockade of fast excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission. During hypercapnic hypoxia, respiratory modulation of RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons was lost, but tonic firing of most RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons was elevated. After blockade of fast excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission, RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons continued to fire and exhibited an excitatory firing response to hypoxia but not hypercapnia. This study suggests that RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons can sustain high levels of neuronal discharge when oxygen is scarce. The intrinsic ability of RVLM sympathetic premotor neurons to maintain responsivity to brainstem hypoxia is an important mechanism ensuring adequate arterial pressure, essential for maintaining cerebral perfusion in the face of depressed ventilation and/or high cerebral vascular resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1453-66
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Physiology
Volume99
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 The Authors. Experimental Physiology © 2014 The Physiological Society.

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Anoxia
  • Cerebral Arteries
  • Electrocardiography
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hypercapnia
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata
  • Motor Neurons
  • Perfusion
  • Peripheral Nerves
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sodium Channels
  • Sodium Cyanide
  • Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Synaptic Transmission

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