Sep 4, 1989

Evidence for an excitatory amino acid pathway in the brainstem and for its involvement in cardiovascular control

Brain Research
P SomogyiJ Chalmers


The source and possible role of excitatory amino acid projections to areas of the ventrolateral medulla (VLM) involved in cardiovascular control were studied. Following the injection of [3H]D-aspartate ([3H]D-Asp), a selective tracer for excitatory amino acid pathways, into vasopressor or vasodepressor areas of the VLM in rats, more than 90% of retrogradely labelled neurones were found in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS). Very few of the [3H]D-Asp-labelled cells were immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase, none for phenylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase or gamma-aminobutyric acid. The density of labelled cells in the NTS was similar to that obtained with the non-selective tracers wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) and WGA-colloidal gold, but these tracers also labelled other cell groups in the medulla. Furthermore, the decrease in blood pressure, caused by pharmacological activation of neurones in the NTS of rats, or by electrical stimulation of the aortic depressor nerve in rabbits could be blocked by the selective N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate injected into the caudal vasodepressor area of the VLM. This area corresponds to the termination of [3H]D-Asp t...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Nucleus Solitarius
Biochemical Pathway
Entire Brainstem
Projections and Predictions
Entire Medulla Oblongata
Wheat Germ Agglutinin Isolectin 2
Cardiovascular System
Amino Acids, I.V. solution additive
August Rats

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