Neurotransmitters in the parabrachial nucleus ...

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Title Neurotransmitters in the parabrachial nucleus mediating visceral input to the thalamus in rats
Author(s) Tarek M. Saleh, D. F. Cechetto
Journal The American Journal of Physiology
Date 1994
Volume 266
Issue 4 Pt 2
Start page R1287
End page 96
Abstract The putative neurotransmitters in ascending visceral pathways were investigated by recording changes in the response of thalamic neuronal activity evoked by vagal stimulation before and after neurotransmitter antagonist injections into the parabrachial nucleus (PB). Male Wistar rats (n = 39) were anesthetized with chloral hydrate and alpha-chloralose, ventilated, and blood pressure and heart rate were continuously monitored. The left cervical vagus nerve was stimulated to elicit changes in single and multiunit activity in the visceral thalamus. Peristimulus-time histograms of thalamic activity were made before and after 200-nl injections of antagonist or control solution into the PB. Synaptic blockade using cobalt (10 mM) injections into the PB inhibited both the thalamic response evoked by vagal stimulation (86-100%) and the spontaneous firing of thalamic neurons (88-92%). Injections of kynurenate (250 mM) or the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist, DL-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (AP-5; 200 microM), inhibited (87-94% and 92-100%) the thalamic neuronal response evoked by vagal stimulation. The alpha-adrenergic antagonist, phentolamine (0.1 microM), or the specific alpha 2-adrenergic antagonist, yohimbine (0.1 microM), inhibited the spontaneous firing of thalamic units (42-56% and 64-77%) but had no effect on the vagally evoked response. Bicuculline [gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) A-subtype antagonist] significantly enhanced spontaneous thalamic neuronal activity (108-125%) without effect on the vagally evoked response. Atropine (0.1 microM) had no significant effect on either the vagally evoked response or the spontaneous firing of thalamic neurons. These results suggest that the relay of visceral afferent sensory information through the PB is mediated by NMDA receptors and that alpha 2 and GABAA receptors contribute to the tonic activity of ventral basal thalamic neurons receiving visceral input.

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