Neurochemistry of neurons in the ventrolateral medulla activated by hypotension: are the same neurons activated by glucoprivation?

Lindsay M. Parker, Sheng Le, Travis Wearne, Kate Hardwick, Natasha N. Kumar, Katherine J. Robinson, Simon McMullan, Ann K. Goodchild*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have demonstrated that a range of stimuli activate neurons, including catecholaminergic neurons, in the ventrolateral medulla. Not all catecholaminergic neurons are activated and other neurochemical content is largely unknown hence whether stimulus specific populations exist is unclear. Here we determine the neurochemistry (using in situ hybridization) of catecholaminergic and noncatecholaminergic neurons which express c-Fos immunoreactivity throughout the rostrocaudal extent of the ventrolateral medulla, in Sprague Dawley rats treated with hydralazine or saline. Distinct neuronal populations containing PPCART, PPPACAP, and PPNPY mRNAs, which were largely catecholaminergic, were activated by hydralazine but not saline. Both catecholaminergic and noncatecholaminergic neurons containing preprotachykinin and prepro-enkephalin (PPE) mRNAs were also activated, with the noncatecholaminergic population located in the rostral C1 region. Few GlyT2 neurons were activated. A subset of these data was then used to compare the neuronal populations activated by 2-deoxyglucose evoked glucoprivation (Brain Structure and Function (2015) 220:117). Hydralazine activated more neurons than 2-deoxyglucose but similar numbers of catecholaminergic neurons. Commonly activated populations expressing PPNPY and PPE mRNAs were defined. These likely include PPNPY expressing catecholaminergic neurons projecting to vasopressinergic and corticotrophin releasing factor neurons in the paraventricular nucleus, which when activated result in elevated plasma vasopressin and corticosterone. Stimulus specific neurons included noncatecholaminergic neurons and a few PPE positive catecholaminergic neuron but neurochemical codes were largely unidentified. Reasons for the lack of identification of stimulus specific neurons, readily detectable using electrophysiology in anaesthetized preparations and for which neural circuits can be defined, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2249-2264
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number9
Early online date13 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2017


  • Catecholamines
  • Hypotension
  • Neurochemical coding
  • RRID: AB_141882
  • RRID: AB_2106783
  • RRID: AB_2157629
  • RRID: AB_2340606
  • RRID: AB_2535788
  • RRID: AB_477560
  • RRID: AB_514497
  • RRID: AB_518256
  • RRID: AB_627253
  • RRID: AB_90782
  • Ventrolateral medulla


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