The intrinsic laryngeal muscles are differentially modulated during respiration as well as other states and behaviors such as hypocapnia and sleep. Previous anatomical and pharmacological studies indicate a role for acetylcholine at the level of the nucleus ambiguus in the modulation of laryngeal motoneuron (LMN) activity. The present study investigated the anatomical nature of cholinergic input to inspiratory- (ILM) and expiratory-modulated (ELM) laryngeal motoneurons in the loose formation of the nucleus ambiguus. Using combined in vivo intracellular recording, dye filling, and immunohistochemistry, we demonstrate that LMNs identified in Sprague-Dawley rat receive several close appositions from vesicular acetylcholine transporter-immunoreactive (VAChT-ir) boutons. ELMs receive a significantly greater number of close appositions (mean ± standard deviation [SD]: 47 ± 11; n = 5) than ILMs (32 ± 9; n = 8; t-test P < 0.05). For both LMN types, more close appositions were observed on the cell soma and proximal dendrites compared to distal dendrites (two-way analysis of variance [ANOVA], P < 0.0001). Using fluorescence confocal microscopy, almost 90% of VAChT-ir close appositions (n = 45 boutons on n = 4 ELMs) were colocalized with the synaptic marker synaptophysin. These results support a strong influence of cholinergic input on LMNs and may have implications in the differential modulation of laryngeal muscle activity.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Journal of Comparative Neurology|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Dec 2010|