Presynaptic Δ opioid receptors differentially modulate rhythm and pattern generation in the ventral respiratory group of the rat

T. Lonergan, A. K. Goodchild, M. J. Christie, P. M. Pilowsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The specific role of the Δ opioid receptor (DOR), in opioid-induced respiratory depression in the ventral respiratory group (VRG) is largely unknown. Here, we sought to determine (1) the relationship between DOR-immunoreactive (ir) boutons, bulbospinal and functionally identified respiratory neurons in the VRG and (2) the effects of microinjection of the selective DOR agonist, D-Pen 2,5-enkephalin (DPDPE), into different subdivisions of the VRG, on phrenic nerve discharge and mean arterial pressure. Following injections of retrograde tracer into the spinal cord or intracellular labelling of respiratory neurons, in Sprague-Dawley rats, brainstem sections were processed for retrograde or intracellular labelling and DOR-ir. Bulbospinal neurons were apposed by DOR-ir boutons regardless of whether they projected to single (cervical or thoracic ventral horn) or multiple (cervical and thoracic ventral horn) targets in the spinal cord. In the VRG, a total of 24±5% (67±13/223±49) of neurons projecting to the cervical ventral horn, and 37±3% (96±22/255±37) of neurons projecting to the thoracic ventral horn, received close appositions from DOR-ir boutons. Furthermore, DOR-ir boutons closely apposed six of seven intracellularly labelled neurons, whilst the remaining neuron itself possessed boutons that were DOR-ir. DPDPE was microinjected (10 mM, 60 nl, unilateral) into regions of respiratory field activity in the VRG of anaesthetised, vagotomised rats, and the effects on phrenic nerve discharge and mean arterial pressure were recorded. DPDPE depressed phrenic nerve amplitude, with little effect on phrenic nerve frequency in the Bötzinger complex, pre-Bötzinger complex and rVRG, the greatest effects occurring in the Bötzinger complex. The results indicate that the DOR is located on afferent inputs to respiratory neurons in the VRG. Activation of the DOR in the VRG is likely to inhibit the release of neurotransmitters from afferent inputs that modulate the pattern of activity of VRG neurons. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-973
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroscience
Volume121
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

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