Orexin neurons form a restricted group in the dorsal hypothalamus. The group is centered on the perifornical area within the classic hypothalamic defense area, an area which when activated produces marked cardiovascular and respiratory effects. Central administration of orexin can produce cardiorespiratory effects, but the extent to which orexin contributes to such responses evoked from the perifornical hypothalamus is not clear. To determine this, we used the dual orexin receptor antagonist Almorexant to challenge the cardiorespiratory effects evoked by disinhibition of the perifornical hypothalamus. Bicuculline (10 and 20 pmol) was microinjected in the perifornical area before and after administration of Almorexant (15 mg/kg iv) or vehicle in urethane-anesthetized rats. Almorexant significantly reduced the pressor, tachycardic, renal sympathoexcitatory, and tachypneic responses to bicuculline (10 pmol, by 55%, 53%, 28%, 77%; 20 pmol, by 54%, 27%, 51%, 72%, respectively). Reductions of similar magnitude were observed with bicuculline microinjections centered on more caudal sites just peripheral to the orexin neuron group, which would likely have activated fewer orexin neurons. In contrast, Almorexant had no effect on the cardiorespiratory response of the chemoreflex (sodium cyanide injection) or the sympathetic component of the baroreflex. Thus orexin makes a major contribution to the cardiorespiratory response evoked from the perifornical area even though orexin neurons represent only a fraction of the output of this area. Orexin neurons may also mediate cardiorespiratory responses from non-orexin neurons in the caudal hypothalamus. However, under resting conditions, blockade of orexin receptors does not affect the chemo- and baroreflexes.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Nov 2012|
- Perifornical area
- Phrenic nerve activity
- Sympathetic vasomotor activity