Developmental regulation of inhibitory synaptic currents in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus in the rat.
We previously demonstrated that microinjection of exogenous glycine into the nucleus tractus solitarii of anesthetized rats elicits responses that are qualitatively like those elicited by microinjection of acetylcholine at the same site. The responses to glycine, like those to acetylcholine, are blocked by administration of a muscarinic receptor antagonist and prolonged by administration of an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Furthermore, glycine leads to release of acetylcholine from the nucleus tractus solitarii and surrounding dorsal vagal complex. An anatomical framework for interactions between glycinergic and cholinergic neurons was established by studies that identified glycine terminals and receptors in the dorsal vagal complex. The current study investigated the relationship between glycine receptors and neuronal elements that were immunoreactive for choline acetyltransferase in the dorsal vagal complex. Neurons that were immunoreactive for choline acetyltransferase were located in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, hypoglossal nucleus and nucleus ambiguus, and stained cells were also present in medial, intermediate, and ventrolateral subnuclei of the nucleus tractus solitarii. We found that glycine receptors, immunolabeled with an antibody to gephyrin, were present on cholinergic dendrites in the nucleus tractus solitarii. Gephyrin immunoreactivity was also present on dendrites that did not stain for choline acetyltransferase. These data further support the contribution of cholinergic neurons in mediating cardiovascular responses to glycine in the nucleus tractus solitarii.