Nitric oxide‐synthesising neurons in the central subnucleus of the nucleus tractus solitarius provide a major innervation of the rostral nucleus ambiguus in the rabbit

W. ‐P Gai, J. P. Messenger, Y. ‐H Yu, Z. J. Gieroba, W. W. Blessing

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    66 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We describe an intramedullary nitric oxide synthase (NOS) neural pathway that projects from the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) to the rostral nucleus ambiguus (NA) in the rabbit. With the use of NADPH diaphorase histochemistry and NOS immunohistochemistry, a compact group of NOS‐positive perikarya was identified in the central subnucleus of the NTS dorsomedial to the tractus solitarius and rostral to the obex. A dense network of NOS terminals was seen in the rostral NA. We investigated whether NOS terminals in the NA derive from NOS perikarya in the central NTS and whether the central NOS pathway links esophageal afferents and efferents. In some rabbits, the central NTS was unilaterally lesioned. In others, Phaseolus vulgaris‐leucoagglutinin (PHA‐L) was injected into the central NTS, or cholera toxin‐gold was injected into the NA, or cholera toxin‐horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was injected into the wall of the esophagus. The medulla was subsequently processed to demonstrate PHA‐L, cholera toxin‐gold, HRP, and NOS reactivity. Seven days after the NTS lesion, we observed a marked decrease in the density of NOS terminals in the ipsilateral NA. After injection of PHA‐L into the central NTS, a dense group of PHA‐L fibres was seen in the rostral NA, principally ipsilaterally. Afferent fibres from the esophagus were found around the NOS cell bodies in the central NTS, and many of these NOS neurons were double labeled with cholera toxin‐gold after injection of this tracer into the NA. NOS terminals were found around NA neurons that were retrogradely labelled from the esophagus. We conclude that the NOS neurons in the central NTS act as interneurons in a central pathway connecting esophageal afferents and efferents. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)348-361
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
    Volume357
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 1995

    Keywords

    • axonal tracing study
    • esophagus
    • medulla oblongata
    • NADPH diaphorase
    • swallowing

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