We combined Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin anterograde tracing and Herpes simplex virus transneuronal retrograde tracing to determine whether neurons in the vasodepressor region of the rabbit caudal ventrolateral medulla project to brainstem neurons containing the virus after its transneuronal transport from the adrenal medulla. Five days after adrenal injection of virus, 764 ± 159 virus‐positive neurons were found bilaterally in the brainstem: 61% in the C1 sympathoexcitatory region of the rostral ventrolateral medulla, 30% in the A5 region, 5% in the parapyramidal region, and 3% in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. Many of the virus‐positive neurons in the C1 and A5 areas also contained tyrosine hydroxylase and, in the parapyramidal area, many contained 5‐hydroxytryptamine. After iontophoretic deposit of leucoagglutinin into the vasodepressor region of the caudal ventrolateral medulla, brain regions containing varicose processes labeled with leucoagglutinin included the regions containing virus‐positive neurons. We examined the C1 and A5 regions following injections of both tracers in the same rabbits, leucoagglutinin into the caudal ventrolateral medulla and virus into the adrenal gland. Varicosities containing leucoagglutinin were seen in contiguity with perikarya and dendritic branches of neurons containing HSV1, in both the C1 and A5 regions. Studies also revealed labeled varicosities in contiguity with TH‐containing C1 and A5 neurons. The projection from the caudal medulla to presumed sympathetic premotor neurons in the C1 area, including some C1 cells, represents a potential pathway whereby activity of neurons in the caudal medulla could reduce blood pressure by inhibiting sympathoexcitatory neurons in the rostral medulla.
- adrenal medulla
- blood pressure
- catecholamine neurons
- central cardiovascular control
- ventrolateral medulla oblongata