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Patterning of somatosympathetic reflexes: Identification of distinct bulbospinal sympathoexcitatory RVLM projections by conduction velocity and catecholamine phenotype

Burke PG, Neale J, Korim WS, Mcmullan S, Pilowsky PM, Goodchild AK (2010) Patterning of somatosympathetic reflexes: Identification of distinct bulbospinal sympathoexcitatory RVLM projections by conduction velocity and catecholamine phenotype. Neuroscience 2010 Abstracts 694.11/HHH34. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Summary: The aim of this study was to examine the somatosympathetic reflex (SSR) response of different sympathetic nerves to identify distinct projections of presympathetic vasomotor RVLM neurons by axonal conduction and catecholamine phenotype. All experiments were conducted in urethane-anaesthetised (1.3 g/kg ip), paralysed, vagotomised and artificially ventilated Sprague Dawley rats (n = 44). First, we determined the simultaneous activity of dorsal root potentials and the splanchnic SSR to single shock sciatic nerve (SN) stimulation (single 0.2 ms pulse, 50 sweeps at 0.5-1 Hz, 1-80 V, n=4). Second, we simultaneously recorded the sympathoexcitatory response of multiple, sympathetic nerves (cervical, renal, splanchnic and lumbar) to low (A-fibre afferent; 4-10 V) and high (A- and C-fibre afferents; +40 V) SN stimulation (n=19). Third, we examined the cervical or splanchnic SSR to low intensity SN stimulation in rats following RVLM microinjection of somatostatin (SST) or muscimol (n=8). Fourth, we examined the splanchnic SSR in rats pretreated with intraspinal anti-dopamine-beta-hydroxylase-saporin (anti-DβH-SAP; 24 ng/side, n=8), a neurotoxin that depleted ~70% of catecholamine (C1) neurons in the RVLM compared to IgG-saporin control (n=5). Low intensity SN stimulation evoked biphasic responses in the renal, splanchnic and lumbar nerves but a single peak in the cervical nerve. High intensity SN stimulation evoked triphasic responses in the renal, splanchnic and lumbar nerves and a biphasic cervical response. RVLM injections of SST abolished the early peak of the cervical and splanchnic SSR. Intraspinal pretreatment with anti-DβH-SAP eliminated the late peak of the splanchnic SSR and attenuated the first peak. It is concluded that the mono- or bi-phasic SSR responses are generated by A-fibre afferent inputs driving two classes of bulbospinal sympathoexcitatory RVLM neurons with myelinated or unmyelinated axonal conduction. Secondly, unmyelinated RVLM presympathetic neurons, presumed to be all C1, innervate splanchnic, renal and lumbar SPN, whereas myelinated C1 and non-C1 neurons innervate all sympathetic outflow examined. These findings extend prior evidence that the RVLM expresses several types of phenotypically distinct descending sympathoexcitatory pathways.

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