Maps of cardiovascular and respiratory regions of rat ventral medulla: Focus on the caudal medulla

Ann K. Goodchild*, Elizabeth A. Moon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)


    The ventral medulla oblongata is critical for cardiorespiratory regulation. Here we review previous literature relating to sites within the ventral medulla that have been identified as having a 'cardiovascular' or 'respiratory' function. Together with the maps generated here, of sites from which cardiovascular and respiratory responses were evoked by glutamate microinjection, specific 'cardiovascular' regions have been defined and delineated. Commonly investigated regions, including the vasopressor rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) and vasodepressor caudal ventrolateral medulla (CVLM), or areas only described by others, such as the medullary cerebral vasodilator area, are included for completeness. Emphasis is given to the caudal medulla, where three pressor regions, the caudal pressor area (CPA), the intermediate pressor area (IPA) and the medullo-cervical pressor area (MCPA), caudal to the vasodepressor CVLM were defined in the original data provided. The IPA is most responsive under pentobarbitone rather than urethane anaesthesia clearly delineating it from both the rostrally located CPA and the caudally located MCPA. The description of these multiple pressor areas appears to clarify the confusion that surrounds the identification of the 'CPA'. Also noted is a vasopressor region adjacent to the vasodepressor CVLM. Apart from the well described ventral respiratory column, a region medial to the pre-Bötzinger is described, from which increases in both phrenic nerve frequency and amplitude were evoked. Limitations associated with the technique of glutamate microinjection to define functionally specific regions are discussed. Particular effort has been made to define and delineate the regions with respect to ventrally located anatomical landmarks rather than the commonly used ventral surface or dorsal landmarks such as the obex or calamus scriptorius that may vary with the brain orientation or histological processing. This should ensure that a region can easily be defined by all investigators. Study of defined regions will help expedite the identification of the role of the multiple cell groups with diverse neurotransmitter complements that exist even within each of the regions described, in coordinating the delivery of oxygenated blood to the tissues.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)209-221
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


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