Nattie EE, Li A (2001) Destruction by SP-SAP of rat retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) neurons expressing the neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) decreases breathing at rest and in response to hypercapnia. Neuroscience 2001 Abstracts 573.1. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.
Summary: Neurons in the RTN are hypothesized to provide both a tonic excitation for breathing and one location for central chemoreception (see Nattie, E., Prog. Neurobiol.1999). Lesions in anesthetized animals support the former while both lesions and focal acidification in unanesthetized animals support the latter. Application of substance P (SP) in the RTN increases respiratory output and immunohistochemistry for the SP (NK1) receptor shows extensive staining in the RTN. To destroy specifically these RTN neurons with NK1Rs we injected unilaterally in the RTN of the rat SP conjugated to the ribosomal toxin, saporin (SP-SAP; 100 nl; 1 uM; Advanced Targeting Systems). We measured ventilation by whole body plethysmography in the unanesthetized rat. At 6 to 15 days following SP-SAP injection, ventilation during air breathing was reduced by 19 to 24% and the response to 7% CO2 inhalation was reduced by 22 to 30%. Subsequent immunohistochemistry showed dramatically reduced NK1R staining in the area of the SP-SAP injection, which is difficult to quantify given the small number of RTN neurons and the extensive NK1R distribution along neuronal processes. RTN neurons with NK1Rs provide both a tonic excitation for breathing and a portion of the response to systemic hypercapnia.
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