Descending noradrenergic pathways involved in the A5 depressor response.


The objective of the present study was to analyze the anatomical basis of the A5 depressor response and to test if the putative neurotransmitter noradrenaline is involved in the response. Two approaches were used; one was neuroanatomical and the other was pharmacological. First, the retrograde transport method in which two fluorescent markers (Fast blue and rhodamine microspheres) was used in combination with the indirect immunofluorescence technique to establish that A5 catecholamine neurons project to both the spinal cord and the region of the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS). Second, we analyzed the effects of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesions of the spinal cord and/or NTS area on the A5 depressor response. This response was elicited by a 80-nl microinjection of L-glutamate (500 mM) into the A5 region in pentobarbital anesthetized rats; it was characterized by a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate. After destruction of various noradrenergic terminal fields we have found that intraspinal injections of 6-OHDA caused a 30% reduction in the blood pressure component of the A5 depressor response and a transient depression of the bradycardic response. This result suggests that only a small portion of the A5 depressor response depends on the descending A5 spinal pathway. Injections of 6-OHDA into the NTS region caused a transient depression of the A5 depressor response, and by 7-14 days postinjection, the response returned to normal. After combined 6-OHDA injections into the spinal cord and NTS area, the blood pressure and heart rate components of the A5 depressor response were reduced to 80% of the control level at 3 days postinjection. By 14 days, even with severe depletion of noradrenaline in the spinal cord (96%) and a moderate depletion of noradrenaline in the NTS (50%), the A5 response was restored to about 80% of its original magnitude, suggesting some type of functional recovery occurs in this system. Third, the blood pressure decrease elicited by L-glutamate stimulation of the A5 cell group was unaffected by pharmacological blockade of the heart. In addition, this response appeared to be normal in rats that had both their autonomic supply to the heart blocked pharmacologically and their spinal cord noradrenaline levels depleted (14 days after intraspinal 6-OHDA injections). These data suggest that the major A5 depressor response operates mainly by inhibition of the sympathetic outflow involved in control of total peripheral resistance and that this system is controlled by a descending spinal pathway which probably does not use noradrenaline as a neurotransmitter.


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@article{Loewy1986DescendingNP, title={Descending noradrenergic pathways involved in the A5 depressor response.}, author={Arthur D. Loewy and Lesley Marson and Dwight Parkinson and Melissa A Perry and William B. Sawyer}, journal={Brain research}, year={1986}, volume={386 1-2}, pages={313-24} }