Targeted deletion of neurokinin-1 receptor expressing nucleus tractus solitarii neurons precludes somatosensory depression of arterial baroreceptor-heart rate reflex

J. T. Potts*, A. Y. Fong, P. I. Anguelov, S. Lee, D. McGovern, I. Grias

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1-R) expressing neurons are densely distributed throughout the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS). However, their fundamental role in arterial baroreflex function remains debated. Previously, our group has shown that activation of contraction-sensitive somatic afferents evoke substance P (SP) release in the NTS and resets the arterial baroreflex via activation of a GABAergic NTS circuit. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that modulation of arterial baroreflex function by somatic afferents is mediated by NK1-R dependent inhibition of barosensitive NTS circuits. In the present study, SP-conjugated saporin toxin (SP-SAP) was used to ablate NK1-R expressing NTS neurons. Contraction-sensitive somatic afferents were activated by electrically-evoked muscle contraction and the arterial baroreceptor-heart rate reflex was assessed by constructing reflex curves using a decerebrate, arterially-perfused preparation. Baseline baroreflex sensitivity was significantly attenuated in SP-SAP-treated rats compared with control rats receiving either unconjugated SAP or vehicle. Muscle contraction significantly attenuated baroslope in SAP and vehicle-treated animals and shifted the baroreflex curves to higher systemic pressure. In contrast, somatic afferent stimulation failed to alter baroslope or shift the baroreflex curves in SP-SAP-treated animals. Moreover, when reflex sensitivity was partially restored in SP-SAP animals, somatic stimulation failed to attenuate baroreflex bradycardia. In contrast, SP-SAP and somatic stimulation failed to blunt the reflex bradycardia evoked by the peripheral chemoreflex. Immunohistochemistry revealed that pretreatment with SP-SAP significantly reduced the number of NK1-R expressing neurons in the caudal NTS, while sparing NK1-R expressing neurons rostral to the injection site. This was accompanied by a significant reduction in the number of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD67) expressing neurons at equivalent levels of the NTS. These findings indicate that immunolesioning of NK1-R expressing NTS neurons selectively abolishes the depressive effect of somatosensory input on arterial baroreceptor-heart rate reflex function.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1168-1181
    Number of pages14
    JournalNeuroscience
    Volume145
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2007

    Keywords

    • arterial baroreflex
    • exercise
    • GABA
    • neurokinin receptors
    • nucleus tractus solitarii
    • substance P

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