Tonically active cAMP-dependent signaling in the ventrolateral medulla regulates sympathetic and cardiac vagal outflows

Vikram J. Tallapragada, Cara M. Hildreth, Peter G R Burke, Darryl A. Raley, Sarah F. Hassan, Simon McMullan, Ann K. Goodchild*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    The ventrolateral medulla contains presympathetic and vagal preganglionic neurons that control vasomotor and cardiac vagal tone, respectively. G protein-coupled receptors influence the activity of these neurons. Gas activates adenylyl cyclases, which drive cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent targets: protein kinase A (PKA), the exchange protein activated by cAMP (EPAC), and hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels. The aim was to determine the cardiovascular effects of activating and inhibiting these targets at presympathetic and cardiac vagal preganglionic neurons. Urethane-anesthetized rats were instrumented to measure splanchnic sympathetic nerve activity (sSNA), arterial pressure (AP), heart rate (HR), as well as baroreceptor and somatosympathetic reflex function, or were spinally transected and instrumented to measure HR, AP, and cardiac baroreflex function. All drugs were injected bilaterally. In the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM), Sp-cAMPs and 8-Br-cAMP, which activate PKA, as well as 8-pCPT, which activates EPAC, increased sSNA, AP, and HR. Sp-cAMPs also facilitated the reflexes tested. Sp-cAMPs also increased cardiac vagal drive and facilitated cardiac baroreflex sensitivity. Blockade of PKA, usingRpcAMPs or H-89 in the RVLM, increased sSNA, AP, and HR and increased HR when cardiac vagal preganglionic neurons were targeted. Brefeldin A, which inhibits EPAC, and ZD7288, which inhibits HCN channels, each alone had no effect. Cumulative, sequential blockade of all three inhibitors resulted in sympathoinhibition. The major findings indicate that Gas-linked receptors in the ventral medulla can be recruited to drive both sympathetic and parasympathetic outflows and that tonically active PKA-dependent signaling contributes to the maintenance of both sympathetic vasomotor and cardiac vagal tone.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)424-433
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


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