A GABAergic inhibitory microcircuit controlling cholinergic outflow to the airways.
ABSTRACT GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter that participates in the regulation of cholinergic outflow to the airways. We have tested the hypothesis that a monosynaptic GABAergic circuit modulates the output of airway-related vagal preganglionic neurons (AVPNs) in the rostral nucleus ambiguus by using a dual-labeling electron microscopic method combining immunocytochemistry for glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) with retrograde tracing from the trachea. We also determined the effects of blockade of GABAA receptors on airway smooth muscle tone. The results showed that retrogradely labeled AVPNs received a significant GAD-immunoreactive (GAD-IR) terminal input. Out of a pooled total of 3,161 synaptic contacts with retrogradely labeled somatic and dendritic profiles, 20.2% were GAD-IR. GAD-IR terminals formed significantly more axosomatic synapses than axodendritic synapses (P < 0.02). A dense population of GABAergic synaptic contacts on AVPNs provides a morphological basis for potent physiological effects of GABA on the excitability of AVPNs. GAD-IR terminals formed exclusively symmetric synaptic specializations. GAD-IR terminals were significantly larger (P < 0.05) in both length and width than unlabeled terminals synapsing on AVPNs. Therefore, the structural characteristics of certain nerve terminals may be closely correlated with their function. Pharmacological blockade of GABAA receptors within the rostral nucleus ambiguus increased activity of putative AVPNs and airway smooth muscle tone. We conclude that a tonically active monosynaptic GABAergic circuit utilizing symmetric synapses regulates the discharge of AVPNs.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of asthma has taken on pandemic proportions. Since this disease predisposes patients to severe acute airway constriction, novel mechanisms capable of promoting airway smooth muscle relaxation would be clinically valuable. We have recently demonstrated that activation of endogenous airway smooth muscle GABA(A) receptors potentiates β-adrenoceptor-mediated relaxation, and molecular analysis of airway smooth muscle reveals that the α-subunit component of these GABA(A) receptors is limited to the α(4)- and α(5)-subunits. We questioned whether ligands with selective affinity for these GABA(A) receptors could promote relaxation of airway smooth muscle. RT-PCR analysis of GABA(A) receptor subunits was performed on RNA isolated by laser capture microdissection from human and guinea pig airway smooth muscle. Membrane potential and chloride-mediated current were measured in response to GABA(A) subunit-selective agonists in cultured human airway smooth muscle cells. Functional relaxation of precontracted guinea pig tracheal rings was assessed in the absence and presence of the α(4)-subunit-selective GABA(A) receptor agonists: gaboxadol, taurine, and a novel 8-methoxy imidazobenzodiazepine (CM-D-45). Only messenger RNA encoding the α(4)- and α(5)-GABA(A) receptor subunits was identified in RNA isolated by laser capture dissection from guinea pig and human airway smooth muscle tissues. Activation of airway smooth muscle GABA(A) receptors with agonists selective for these subunits resulted in appropriate membrane potential changes and chloride currents and promoted relaxation of airway smooth muscle. In conclusion, selective subunit targeting of endogenous airway smooth muscle-specific GABA(A) receptors may represent a novel therapeutic option for patients in severe bronchospasm.AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 09/2011; 302(2):L248-56. · 3.52 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We reported pharmacological data suggesting that stimulation of a vago-vagal reflex activates GABAergic neurons in the hindbrain that inhibit dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) neurons projecting to the antrum, but not to the fundus (Ferreira et al., 2002). The purpose of this study was to use an ultrastructural approach to test the hypothesis that GABAergic terminals form synapses with DMV antrum-projecting neurons, but not with DMV fundus-projecting neurons. A retrograde tracer, CTB-HRP, was injected into the gastric smooth muscle of either the fundus or the antrum of anesthetized rats. Animals were re-anesthetized 48 h later and perfusion-fixed with acrolein and paraformaldehyde. Brainstems were processed histochemically for CTB-HRP, and immunocytochemically for glutamic acid decarboxylase isoenzyme 67 immunoreactivity (GAD67-IR) by dual-labeling electron microscopic methods. Most cell bodies and dendrites of neurons that were retrogradely labeled from the stomach occurred at the level of the area postrema. Examination of 214 synapses on 195 neurons that projected to the antrum revealed that 23.0+/-3.6% (n = 4) of synaptic contacts were with GAD67-IR terminals. The examination of 220 synapses on 203 fundus-projecting neurons revealed that only 7.9+/-3.1% (n = 4) of synaptic contacts were with GAD67-IR terminals. The difference between GAD67-IR synaptic contacts with antrum- and fundus-projecting neurons was statistically significant (p<0.05). These data suggest that brainstem circuitry controlling the antrum involves GABAergic transmission.Autonomic neuroscience: basic & clinical 02/2011; 160(1-2):21-6. · 1.82 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Stimulation of cardiopulmonary receptors with phenylbiguanide (PBG) elicits depressor cardiovascular reflex responses, including decreases in blood pressure and heart rate mediated in part by the brain stem parasympathetic cardiac neurons in the nucleus ambiguus (NAmb). The present study examined NAmb neurotransmitter mechanisms underlying the influence of electroacupuncture (EA) on the PBG-induced hypotension and bradycardia. We hypothesized that somatic stimulation during EA modulates PBG responses through opioid and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) modulation in the NAmb. Anesthetized and ventilated cats were studied during repeated stimulation with PBG or cardiac vagal afferents while low-frequency EA (2 Hz) was applied at P5-6 acupoints overlying the median nerve for 30 min and NAmb neuronal activity, heart rate, and blood pressure were recorded. Microinjection of kainic acid into the NAmb attenuated the PBG-induced bradycardia from -60 ± 11 to -36 ± 11 beats/min. Likewise, EA reduced the PBG-induced depressor and bradycardia reflex by 52 and 61%, respectively. Cardiac vagal afferent evoked preganglionic cellular activity in the NAmb was reduced by EA for about 60 min. Blockade of opioid or GABA(A) receptors using naloxone and gabazine reversed the EA-related modulation of the evoked cardiac vagal activity by 73 and 53%, respectively. Similarly, naloxone and gabazine reversed EA modulation of the negative chronotropic responses from -11 ± 5 to -23 ± 6 and -13 ± 4 to -24 ± 3 beats/min, respectively. Thus EA at P5-6 decreases PBG evoked hypotension and bradycardia as well as the NAmb PBG-sensitive preganglionic cardiac vagal outflow through opioid and GABA neurotransmitter systems.AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 12/2011; 302(7):R833-44. · 3.28 Impact Factor