[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have demonstrated that stimulation of somatic afferents during electroacupuncture (EA) inhibits sympathoexcitatory cardiovascular rostral ventrolateral medulla (rVLM) neurons and reflex responses. Furthermore, EA at P5-P6 acupoints over the median nerve on the forelimb activate serotonin (5-HT)-containing neurons in the nucleus raphe pallidus (NRP). The present study, therefore, examined the role of the NRP and its synaptic input to neurons in the rVLM during the modulatory influence of EA. Since serotonergic neurons in the NRP project to the rVLM, we hypothesized that the NRP facilitates EA inhibition of the cardiovascular sympathoexcitatory reflex response through activation of 5-HT1A receptors in the rVLM. Animals were anesthetized and ventilated, and heart rate and blood pressure were monitored. We then inserted microinjection and recording electrodes in the rVLM and NRP. Application of bradykinin (10 microg/ml) on the gallbladder every 10 min induced consistent excitatory cardiovascular reflex responses. Stimulation with EA at P5-P6 acupoints reduced the increase in blood pressure from 41+/-4 to 22+/-4 mmHg for more than 70 min. Inactivation of NRP with 50 nl of kainic acid (1 mM) reversed the EA-related inhibition of the cardiovascular reflex response. Similarly, blockade of 5-HT1A receptors with the antagonist WAY-100635 (1 mM, 75 nl) microinjected into the rVLM reversed the EA-evoked inhibition. In the absence of EA, NRP microinjection of dl-homocysteic acid (4 nM, 50 nl), to mimic EA, reduced the cardiovascular and rVLM neuronal excitatory reflex response during stimulation of the gallbladder and splanchnic nerve, respectively. Blockade of 5-HT1A receptors in the rVLM reversed the NRP dl-homocysteic acid inhibition of the cardiovascular and neuronal reflex responses. Thus activation of the NRP, through a mechanism involving serotonergic neurons and 5-HT1A receptors in the rVLM during somatic stimulation with EA, attenuates sympathoexcitatory cardiovascular reflexes.
Full-text · Article · May 2010 · Journal of Applied Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The midline medulla oblongata, which includes the nucleus raphe obscurus, raphe magnus and raphe pallidus (NRP), is involved in regulation of cardiovascular responses. Opioids and serotonin (5-HT) are thought to function as important neurotransmitters in this region. We previously have demonstrated that electroacupuncture (EA) at the Neiguan-Jianshi acupoints (P5-P6, overlying the median nerves) attenuates sympathoexcitatory blood pressure reflexes through its influence on several brain regions. However, the role of these three raphe nuclei in the acupuncture responses is unknown. In baroreceptor denervated and vagotomized cats, the present study evaluated c-Fos activation in the raphe nuclei induced by EA and examined its relationship to enkephalin and 5-HT. To enhance detection of perikarya containing enkephalin, colchicine (90-100 microg/kg) was administered into the subarachnoid space in anesthetized cats 28-30 h before the placement of acupuncture needles at P5-P6 acupoints with or without electrical stimulation for 30 min. Perikarya containing the opioid and 5-HT were found in the raphe nuclei of all animals following application of colchicine. Compared to controls without electrical stimulation (n=5), c-Fos immunoreactivity and neurons double-labeled with c-Fos and either enkephalin or 5-HT were found more frequently in all three midline medullary nuclei, especially in NRP (n=6, all P<0.05) of EA-treated cats. Moreover, neurons triple-labeled with c-Fos, enkephalin and 5-HT were noted frequently in the NRP following EA stimulation. These results suggest that the medullary raphe nuclei, particularly the NRP, process somatic signals during EA and participate in EA-related modulation of cardiovascular function through an opioid or serotonergic mechanism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our previous studies have demonstrated that stimulation of cardiac sympathetic afferents activates neurons in the parabrachial nucleus (PBN), a region known to play a role in central integration of cardiovascular autonomic reflexes. However, phenotypes of these activated neurons have not been well identified. Glutamate, an important excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, is involved in PBN-mediated cardiovascular responses. Recent identification of vesicular glutamate transporter 3 (VGLUT3) has provided a novel and unique marker to locate distinctive perikarya of neurons that use glutamate as a neurotransmitter. The action of glutamate in the brain is influenced by nitric oxide. Thus, using triple immunofluorescent labeling, the present study examined expression of c-Fos, an immediate early gene, in the neurons containing VGLUT3 and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) in the PBN following stimulation of cardiac sympathetic afferents. In anesthetized cats with bilateral barodenervation and cervical vagotomy, topical application of bradykinin (BK, 1-10 microg/ml, 50 microl, n = 6) on the left ventricle was performed six times, every 20 min. Repeated administration of BK elicited consistent increases in blood pressure over a 100 min period while no changes were noted in the animals treated with the vehicle for BK (0.9% saline, n=5). Compared to control cats, c-Fos expression was increased significantly in the cell bodies containing VGLUT3 as well as both VGLUT3 and nNOS in the external lateral PBN (elPBN) in BK-treated animals (all P < 0.01). In addition, using similar triple-staining method, we noted that fibers of activated neurons containing nNOS in the elPBN co-localized with vesicular glutamate transporter 2 following BK stimulation. These data suggest that glutamatergic neurons represent a cell type in the PBN that is activated by stimulation of cardiac sympathetic afferents. Nitric oxide has the potential to influence the action of glutamatergic neurons in regulation of excitatory cardiovascular responses induced by activation of cardiac sympathetic afferents.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our previous studies have shown that electroacupuncture (EA) at the Neiguan-Jianshi (P5-P6) acupoints inhibits sympathetic outflow and attenuates excitatory visceral cardiovascular reflexes through enkephalin- or beta-endorphin-related opioid receptors in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (rVLM). It is not known whether EA at these acupoints activates neurons containing enkephalin or beta-endorphin in the rVLM as well as in the periaqueductal gray (PAG) that are involved in EA-mediated central neural regulation of sympathetic activity. The present study evaluated activated neurons in the rVLM and PAG by detecting c-Fos immunoreactivity, and identified the relationship between c-Fos nuclei and neuronal structures containing enkephalin or beta-endorphin in these regions. To enhance the detection of cell bodies containing enkephalin or beta-endorphin, colchicine (90-100 microg/kg) was injected into the subarachnoid space in anesthetized cats 28-30 h prior to EA or the sham-operated control for EA. Following bilateral barodenervation and cervical vagotomy, EA (1-4 mA, 2 Hz, 0.5 ms) was performed at the P5-P6 acupoints (overlying median nerve; n=7) for 30 min. Identical procedures, with the exception of electrical stimulation, were carried out in five control animals. EA decreased blood pressure (BP) in four of seven cats (5-15 mm Hg) while the sham procedure for EA produced no responses. Perikarya containing enkephalin were found in the rVLM and rarely in the PAG, while no cell bodies labeled with beta-endorphin were identified in either region. Compared to animals in the control group, more c-Fos immunoreactivity, located principally in close proximity to fibers containing enkephalin or beta-endorphin, was observed in the rVLM and ventrolateral PAG (vlPAG) in EA-treated cats. Moreover, neurons double-labeled with c-Fos and enkephalin in the rVLM were significantly increased in cats following EA stimulation (P<0.05). These data indicate that EA at the P5-P6 acupoints activates neurons in the rVLM and vlPAG. These activated neurons contain enkephalin in the rVLM, and most likely interact with nerve fibers containing enkephalin or beta-endorphin in both the rVLM and vlPAG. The results from this study provide the first anatomical evidence showing that EA at the P5-P6 acupoints has the potential to influence neuronal structures (perikarya, axons and/or dendrites) containing enkephalin or beta-endorphin in specific regions of the brain stem. These neurons likely form the substrate for EA's influence on sympathoexcitatory cardiovascular reflexes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hypothalamus is considered to be an important area in the central regulation of cardiovascular function. However, its role in processing excitatory cardiovascular reflexes induced by stimulation of cardiac afferents has not been established. In the present study, using c-Fos immunoreactivity, we located neurons in the hypothalamus activated by inputs from cardiac sympathetic afferents. Following bilateral barodenervation and cervical vagotomy in anesthetized cats, bradykinin (BK, 1-10 microg, in 0.1 ml; n=7) was applied repetitively (6x, every 20 min) to the anterior epicardial surface of the left ventricle. This chemical stimulation caused consistent excitatory cardiovascular reflexes characterized by increases in blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR), while the vehicle for BK (0.9% saline, n=6) produced no such responses. Compared to control cats, c-Fos immunoreactive cells were significantly increased (P<0.05) in the arcuate nucleus (ARC), dorsal hypothalamic area (HDA), dorsomedial nucleus, paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVN) and periventricular nucleus in the BK-treated animals. More neurons double-labeled with c-Fos and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) were observed in the PVN following epicardial application of BK (P<0.05). There was no significant increase in co-localization of these two labelings in the other nuclei. These results suggest that several nuclei in the hypothalamus respond to activation of cardiac sympathetic afferents, leading to sympathoexcitatory reflexes. Nitric oxide (NO) may function as a neurotransmitter or as a neuromodulator in the PVN during these cardiac-cardiovascular responses.