Neurons in rabbit caudal ventrolateral medulla inhibit bulbospinal barosensitive neurons in rostral medulla

Y. W. Li, Z. J. Gieroba, R. M. McAllen, W. W. Blessing

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    We made extracellular recordings from 104 spinally projecting neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla of urethan-anesthetized rabbits to test whether inhibitory vasomotor neurons in the caudal ventrolateral medulla act by inhibiting rostral sympathoexcitatory neurons. The median conduction velocity was 8.3 m/s, and the median discharge rate was 2.9 spikes/s. Raising arterial pressure with intravenous phenylephrine inhibited 88% of 77 neurons tested. The remaining units were excited. Lowering arterial pressure with nitroprusside excited 90% of 30 neurons tested. Remaining units were unaffected. Ninety-one percent of 58 rostral neurons inhibited by phenylephrine were also inhibited by injection of L-glutamate into the caudal ventrolateral medulla and 81% of 43 tested were excited by caudal injection of γ-aminobutyric acid. These results confirm our suggestion [Brain Res. 253: 161-171, 1982; Am. J. Physiol. 254 (Heart Circ. Physiol. 23): H686-H692, 1988] and the findings of S. K. Agarwal, A. J. Gelsema, and F. R. Calaresu [Am. J. Physiol. 257 (Regulatory Integrative Comp. Physiol. 26): R265-R270, 1989]. The depressor neurons in the caudal medulla act substantially by inhibition of spinally projecting sympathoexcitatory neurons in the rostral medulla. All rostral units excited by phenylephrine were also excited by injections of L-glutamate into the caudal ventrolateral medulla, suggesting that some sympathoinhibition of baroreceptor and caudal medullary origin may take place in the spinal cord and be mediated by a subpopulation of rostral sympathoinhibitory neurons.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)R44-R51
    Number of pages8
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 1991


    • Blood pressure
    • Central cardiovascular regulation
    • Microinjection
    • Single-unit recording
    • Sympathetic vasomotor tone


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