Few trigeminal sensory fibers project centrally beyond the trigeminal sensory complex, with only projections of fibers carried in its sensory anterior ethmoidal (AEN) and intraoral nerves described. Fibers of the AEN project into the brainstem reticular formation where immunoreactivity against substance P and CGRP are found. We investigated whether the source of these peptides could be from trigeminal ganglion neurons by performing unilateral rhizotomies of the trigeminal root and looking for absence of label. After an 8-14 days survival, substance P immunoreactivity in the trigeminal sensory complex was diminished, but we could not conclude that the sole source of this peptide in the lateral parabrachial area and lateral reticular formation arises from primary afferent fibers. Immunoreactivity to CGRP after rhizotomy however was greatly diminished in the trigeminal sensory complex, confirming the observations of others. Moreover, CGRP immunoreactivity was nearly eliminated in fibers in the lateral parabrachial area, the caudal ventrolateral medulla, both the peri-ambiguus and ventral parts of the rostral ventrolateral medulla, in the external formation of the nucleus ambiguus, and diminished in the caudal pressor area. The nearly complete elimination of CGRP in the lateral reticular formation after rhizotomy suggests this peptide is carried in primary afferent fibers. Moreover, the arborization of CGRP immunoreactive fibers in these areas mimics that of direct projections from the AEN. Since electrical stimulation of the AEN induces cardiorespiratory adjustments including an apnea, peripheral vasoconstriction, and bradycardia similar to those seen in the mammalian diving response, we suggest these perturbations of autonomic behavior are enhanced by direct somatic primary afferent projections to these reticular neurons. We believe this to be first description of potential direct somatoautonomic projections to brainstem neurons regulating autonomic activity.
A dramatic bradycardia is induced by underwater submersion in vertebrates. The location of parasympathetic preganglionic cardiac motor neurons driving this aspect of the diving response was investigated using cFos immunohistochemistry combined with retrograde transport of cholera toxin subunit B (CTB) to double-label neurons. After pericardial injections of CTB, trained rats voluntarily dove underwater, and their heart rates (HR) dropped immediately to 95 ± 2 bpm, an 80% reduction. After immunohistochemical processing, the vast majority of CTB labeled neurons were located in the reticular formation from the rostral cervical spinal cord to the facial motor nucleus, confirming previous studies. Labeled neurons caudal to the rostral ventrolateral medulla were usually spindle-shaped aligned along an oblique line running from the dorsal vagal nucleus to the ventrolateral reticular formation, while those more rostrally were multipolar with extended dendrites. Nine percent of retrogradely-labeled neurons were positive for both cFos and CTB after diving and 74% of these were found rostral to the obex. CTB also was transported transganglionically in primary afferent fibers, resulting in large granular deposits in dorsolateral, ventrolateral, and commissural subnuclei of the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) and finer deposits in lamina I and IV-V of the trigeminocervical complex. The overlap of parasympathetic preganglionic cardiac motor neurons activated by diving with those activated by baro- and chemoreceptors in the rostral ventrolateral medulla is discussed. Thus, the profound bradycardia seen with underwater submersion reinforces the notion that the mammalian diving response is the most powerful autonomic reflex known.
The mammalian diving response is a remarkable behavior that overrides basic homeostatic reflexes. It is most studied in large aquatic mammals but is seen in all vertebrates. Pelagic mammals have developed several physiological adaptations to conserve intrinsic oxygen stores, but the apnea, bradycardia, and vasoconstriction is shared with those terrestrial and is neurally mediated. The adaptations of aquatic mammals are reviewed here as well as the neural control of cardiorespiratory physiology during diving in rodents.
Most behaviors have numerous components based on reflexes, but the neural circuits driving most reflexes rarely are documented. The nasotrigeminal reflex induced by stimulating the nasal mucosa causes an apnea, a bradycardia, and variable changes in mean arterial blood pressure (MABP). In this study we tested the nasotrigeminal reflex after transecting the brainstem at the pontomedullary junction. The nasal mucosae of anesthetized rats were stimulated with ammonia vapors and their brainstems then were transected. Complete transections alone induced an increase in resting heart rate (HR; p<0.001) and MABP (p<0.001), but no significant change in ventilation. However, the responses to nasal stimulation after transection were similar to those seen prior to transection. HR still dropped significantly (p<0.001), duration of apnea remained the same, as did changes in MABP. Results from rats whose transection were incomplete are discussed. These data implicate that the neuronal circuitry driving the nasotrigeminal reflex, and indirectly the diving response, is intrinsic to the medulla and spinal cord.
Neurons in the caudalmost ventrolateral medulla (cmVLM) respond to noxious stimulation. We previously have shown most efferent projections from this locus project to areas implicated either in the processing or modulation of pain. Here we show the cmVLM of the rat receives projections from superficial laminae of the medullary dorsal horn (MDH) and has neurons activated with capsaicin injections into the temporalis muscle. Injections of either biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) into the MDH or fluorogold (FG)/fluorescent microbeads into the cmVLM showed projections from lamina I and II of the MDH to the cmVLM. Morphometric analysis showed the retrogradely-labeled neurons were small (area 88.7 µm(2)±3.4) and mostly fusiform in shape. Injections (20-50 µl) of 0.5% capsaicin into the temporalis muscle and subsequent immunohistochemistry for c-Fos showed nuclei labeled in the dorsomedial trigeminocervical complex (TCC), the cmVLM, the lateral medulla, and the internal lateral subnucleus of the parabrachial complex (PBil). Additional labeling with c-Fos was seen in the subnucleus interpolaris of the spinal trigeminal nucleus, the rostral ventrolateral medulla, the superior salivatory nucleus, the rostral ventromedial medulla, and the A1, A5, A7 and subcoeruleus catecholamine areas. Injections of FG into the PBil produced robust label in the lateral medulla and cmVLM while injections of BDA into the lateral medulla showed projections to the PBil. Immunohistochemical experiments to antibodies against substance P, the substance P receptor (NK1), calcitonin gene regulating peptide, leucine enkephalin, VRL1 (TPRV2) receptors and neuropeptide Y showed that these peptides/receptors densely stained the cmVLM. We suggest the MDH- cmVLM projection is important for pain from head and neck areas. We offer a potential new pathway for regulating deep pain via the neurons of the TCC, the cmVLM, the lateral medulla, and the PBil and propose these areas compose a trigeminoreticular pathway, possibly the trigeminal homologue of the spinoreticulothalamic pathway.
Manipulation of inhaled gases during ischemia/reperfusion is a potential novel therapy for acute stroke. We previously found that treatment with a mixture of 70%/30% helium/oxygen (heliox) or 100% oxygen protects the brain against acute focal ischemia-reperfusion injury. This study evaluates the potential neuro-protective effects of delayed heliox treatment and its dose response effects in a rat transient focal cerebral ischemia model. Adult male rats were subjected to 2-h middle cerebral artery occlusion and then assigned to 1 of 4 inhaled gas exposure groups: I: 70%/30% nitrogen/oxygen (control); II: 70%/30% helium/oxygen administered immediately after occlusion; III: 70%/30% helium/oxygen administered after a 30-60 min delay; or, IV: 40%/30%/30% nitrogen/helium/oxygen administered immediately after occlusion. Outcome measurements included infarct size and neurological deficit score. Mean infarct sizes from groups I to IV were 228, 35, 109, and 124 mm³ respectively (p=0.012). Only group II had significantly smaller infarct size compared to the control group (p=0.008). In addition, only Group II had a significantly lower neurological deficit score at 24h post ischemia when compared to the control group (p<0.001). Since heliox reduced infarct size and improved neurological deficit scores if initiated immediately after onset of ischemia, it may be a useful adjuvant to other stroke therapies.
Opioid receptor signaling via EGF receptor (EGFR) transactivation and ERK/MAPK phosphorylation initiates diverse cellular responses that are cell type-dependent. In astrocytes, multiple ? opioid receptor-mediated mechanisms of ERK activation exist that are temporally distinctive and feature different outcomes. Upon discovering that chronic opiate treatment of rats down-regulates thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) expression in the nucleus accumbens and cortex, we investigated the mechanism of action of this modulation in astrocytes. TSP1 is synthesized in astrocytes and is released into the extracellular matrix where it is known to play a role in synapse formation and neurite outgrowth. Acute morphine (hours) reduced TSP1 levels in astrocytes. Chronic (days) opioids repressed TSP1 gene expression and reduced its protein levels by ? opioid receptor and ERK-dependent mechanisms in astrocytes. Morphine also depleted TSP1 levels stimulated by TGF?1 and abolished ERK activation induced by this factor. Chronic morphine treatment of astrocyte-neuron co-cultures reduced neurite outgrowth and synapse formation. Therefore, inhibitory actions of morphine were detected after both acute and chronic treatments. An acute mechanism of morphine signaling to ERK that entails depletion of TSP1 levels was suggested by inhibition of morphine activation of ERK by a function-blocking TSP1 antibody. This raises the novel possibility that acute morphine uses TSP1 as a source of EGF-like ligands to activate EGFR. Chronic morphine inhibition of TSP1 is reminiscent of the negative effect of ? opioids on EGFR-induced astrocyte proliferation via a phospho-ERK feedback inhibition mechanism. Both of these variations of classical EGFR transactivation may enable opiates to diminish neurite outgrowth and synapse formation.
The etiology of Parkinson disease (PD) has yet to be fully elucidated. We examined the consequences of injections of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL), a toxic metabolite of dopamine, into the substantia nigra of rats on motor behavior and neuronal survival.
The mammalian diving response is a dramatic autonomic adjustment to underwater submersion affecting heart rate, arterial blood pressure, and ventilation. The bradycardia is known to be modulated by the parasympathetic nervous system, arterial blood pressure is modulated via the sympathetic system, and still other circuits modulate the respiratory changes. In the present study, we investigate the submergence of rats brought past their aerobic dive limit, defined as the diving duration beyond which blood lactate concentration increases above resting levels. Hemodynamic measurements were made during underwater submergence with biotelemetric transmitters, and blood was drawn from cannulas previously implanted in the rats carotid arteries. Such prolonged submersion induces radical changes in blood chemistry; mean arterial PCO(2) rose to 62.4 Torr, while mean arterial PO(2) and pH reached nadirs of 21.8 Torr and 7.18, respectively. Despite these radical changes in blood chemistry, the rats neither attempted to gasp nor breathe while underwater. Immunohistochemistry for Fos protein done on their brains revealed numerous Fos-positive profiles. Especially noteworthy were the large number of immunopositive profiles in loci where presumptive chemoreceptors are found. Despite the activation of these presumptive chemoreceptors, the rats did not attempt to breathe. Injections of biotinylated dextran amine were made into ventral parts of the medullary dorsal horn, where central fibers of the anterior ethmoidal nerve terminate. Labeled fibers coursed caudal, ventral, and medial from the injection to neurons on the ventral surface of the medulla, where numerous Fos-labeled profiles were seen in the rats brought past their aerobic dive limit. We propose that this projection inhibits the homeostatic chemoreceptor reflex, despite the gross activation of chemoreceptors.
Underwater submersion in mammals induces apnea, parasympathetically mediated bradycardia, and sympathetically mediated peripheral vasoconstriction. These effects are collectively termed the diving response, potentially the most powerful autonomic reflex known. Although these physiological responses are directed by neurons in the brain, study of neural control of the diving response has been hampered since 1) it is difficult to study the brains of animals while they are underwater, 2) feral marine mammals are usually large and have brains of variable size, and 3) there are but few references on the brains of naturally diving species. Similar responses are elicited in anesthetized rodents after stimulation of their nasal mucosa, but this nasopharyngeal reflex has not been compared directly with natural diving behavior in the rat. In the present study, we compared hemodynamic responses elicited in awake rats during volitional underwater submersion with those of rats swimming on the waters surface, rats involuntarily submerged, and rats either anesthetized or decerebrate and stimulated nasally with ammonia vapors. We show that the hemodynamic changes to voluntary diving in the rat are similar to those of naturally diving marine mammals. We also show that the responses of voluntary diving rats are 1) significantly different from those seen during swimming, 2) generally similar to those elicited in trained rats involuntarily "dunked" underwater, and 3) generally different from those seen from dunking naive rats underwater. Nasal stimulation of anesthetized rats differed most from the hemodynamic variables of rats trained to dive voluntarily. We propose that the rat trained to dive underwater is an excellent laboratory model to study neural control of the mammalian diving response, and also suggest that some investigations may be done with nasal stimulation of decerebrate preparations to decipher such control.
The laminar sheet of epithelium (e.g., skin and mucous membrane) enclosing our bodies is represented in the dorsal horns of the medulla and spinal cord. The eyeball however indents this laminar sheet and is shrouded by different layers: the cornea/sclera, the conjunctiva, and hairy skin. This involution of the orb confounds defining the central representation of the cornea and its surrounding mucosa and skin. We used herein the transganglionic transport of a cocktail of HRP conjugated to cholera toxin and wheat germ agglutinin to determine the central representation of these epithelia in the dorsal horns of the rat. The HRP cocktail was injected either into the stroma of the cornea, the mucosa of the conjunctiva, or the supraorbital and infraorbital nerves. Injections of the cornea produced dense label in the interstitial islands in the ventral medullary dorsal horn (MDH), probably lamina I, and in neuropil in the ventromedial tip of the MDH, probably lamina II. There sometimes was variable, diffuse label in the C1 dorsal horn after corneal injections but more rostral parts of the trigeminal sensory complex were never labeled. Injections of the conjunctiva densely labeled laminae I-III in the C1 dorsal horn, while laminae IV-V were diffusely labeled. Sparser reaction product also was seen in lamina I in positions similar to the cornea projection. Label was seen ventrally in subnuclei interpolaris and oralis, as well as the principal trigeminal nucleus. Projections of the infraorbital nerve included all laminae in the trigeminocervical complex as well as large portions of the rostral subnuclei in the spinal trigeminal nucleus. The projections of the supraorbital nerve were similar, but were restricted to ventral parts of the trigeminal sensory complex. In other cases the cornea was injected either after cutting the supraorbital and infraorbital nerves or the conjunctiva was injected after enucleating the eyeball. Any reaction product from corneal injections was reduced dramatically in the C1 dorsal horn after transection of the infraorbital and supraorbital nerves. Injecting the conjunctiva after enucleating the eyeball densely labeled the C1 projection to the dorsal horn, a small patch in lamina I in the MDH, as well as the rostral trigeminal complex. We propose that the cornea has but a single representation in the trigeminocervical complex in its ventral part near the caudal end of the medulla. We also propose the palpebral conjunctiva mucosa is represented in the C1 dorsal horn, and speculate that the bulbar conjunctiva overlaps with that of the cornea in lamina I. We discuss these projections in relation to the circuitry for the supraorbital-evoked and corneal-evoked blink reflexes. The relationship of the cornea and conjunctiva is intimate, and investigators must be very careful when attempting to stimulate them in isolation.
The mammalian diving response is a powerful autonomic adjustment to underwater submersion greatly affecting heart rate, arterial blood pressure, and ventilation. The bradycardia is mediated by the parasympathetic nervous system, arterial blood pressure is mediated via the sympathetic system and still other circuits mediate the respiratory changes. In the present study we investigate the cardiorespiratory responses and the brainstem neurons activated by voluntary diving of trained rats, and, compare them to control and swimming animals which did not dive. We show that the bradycardia and increase in arterial blood pressure induced by diving were significantly different than that induced by swimming. Neuronal activation was calculated after immunohistochemical processing of brainstem sections for Fos protein. Labeled neurons were counted in the caudal pressor area, the medullary dorsal horn, subnuclei of the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS), the nucleus raphe pallidus (RPa), the rostroventrolateral medulla, the A5 area, the nucleus locus coeruleus, the Kölliker-Fuse area, and the external lateral and superior lateral subnuclei of the parabrachial nucleus. All these areas showed significant increases in Fos labeling when data from voluntary diving rats were compared to control rats and all but the commissural subnucleus of the NTS, A5 area, and RPa were significantly different from swimming rats. These data provide a substrate for more precise experiments to determine the role of these nuclei in the reflex circuits driving the diving response.
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