The expression of galanin in the parafacial respiratory group and its effects on respiration in neonatal rats

Tara G. Bautista*, Angelina Y. Fong, Paul M. Pilowsky, Keiko Ikeda, Kiyoshi Kawakami, Darko Spirovski, Hiroshi Onimaru

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    The inhibitory peptide galanin is expressed within the retrotrapezoidal nucleus (RTN) – a key central chemoreceptor site that also contains the active expiratory oscillator. It was previously reported that microinjection of galanin into pre-Bötzinger complex – containing the inspiratory oscillator – exerts inhibitory effects on inspiratory motor output and respiratory rhythm. In neonatal rats, the present study aimed to investigate: (1) expression of galanin within the parafacial respiratory group (pFRG), which overlaps anatomically and functionally with the adult RTN, and; (2) effects of galanin on respiratory rhythm using the in vitro brainstem-spinal cord preparation. We showed that 14 ± 2% of Phox2b-immunoreactive (ir) neurons in the parafacial region were also galanin-ir. Galanin peptide expression was confirmed within 3/9 CO 2 -sensitive, Phox2b-ir Pre-Inspiratory neurons (Pre-I) recorded in parafacial region. Bath application of galanin (0.1–0.2 µM): (1) decreased the duration of membrane depolarization in both Pre-I and inspiratory pFRG neurons, and; (2) decreased the number of C4 bursts that were associated with each burst in Pre-I neurons within the pFRG. In preparations showing episodic breathing at baseline, the respiratory patterning reverted to the ‘normal’ pattern of single, uniformly rhythmic C4 bursts (n = 10). In preparations with normal respiratory patterning at baseline, slowing of C4 rhythm (n = 7) resulted although rhythmic bursting in recorded Pre-I neurons remained unperturbed (n = 6). This study therefore demonstrates that galanin is expressed within the pFRG of neonatal rats, including neurons that are intrinsically chemosensitive. Overall the peptide has an inhibitory effect on inspiratory motor output, as previously shown in adults.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


    • respiratory central pattern generator
    • neuropeptide
    • episodic breathing
    • parafacial respiratory group
    • retrotrapezoid nucleus
    • Pre-Inspiratory


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