Chemogenetic activation of noradrenergic A5 neurons increases blood pressure and visceral sympathetic activity in adult rats
- Journal Article
In mammals, the pontine noradrenergic system influences nearly every aspect of central nervous system function. A subpopulation of pontine noradrenergic neurons, called A5, are thought to be important in the cardiovascular response to physical stressors, yet their function is poorly defined. We hypothesized that activation of A5 neurons drives a sympathetically mediated increase in blood pressure (BP). To test this hypothesis, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of the cardiovascular effects of chemogenetic stimulation of A5 neurons in male and female adult rats using intersectional genetic and anatomical targeting approaches. Chemogenetic stimulation of A5 neurons in freely behaving rats elevated BP by 15 mmHg and increased cardiac baroreflex sensitivity with a negligible effect on resting HR. Importantly, A5 stimulation had no detectable effect on locomotor activity, metabolic rate, or respiration. Under anesthesia, stimulation of A5 neurons produced a marked elevation in visceral sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) and no change in skeletal muscle SNA, showing that A5 neurons preferentially stimulate visceral SNA. Interestingly, projection mapping indicates that A5 neurons target sympathetic preganglionic neurons throughout the spinal cord and parasympathetic preganglionic neurons throughout in the brainstem, as well as the nucleus of the solitary tract, and ventrolateral medulla. Moreover, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry indicate that a subpopulation of A5 neurons coreleases glutamate and monoamines. Collectively, this study suggests A5 neurons are a central modulator of autonomic function with a potentially important role in sympathetically driven redistribution of blood flow from the visceral circulation to critical organs and skeletal muscle. Show more
Journal / seriesAmerican Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Pages / Article No.
PublisherAmerican Physiological Society
Subjectbaroreflex; brainstem; chemogenetics; hypertension; neural circuits
Organisational unit03742 - Zeilhofer, Hanns U. / Zeilhofer, Hanns U.
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