MLR-induced inhibition of barosensory cells in the NTS

Alexandr M. Degtyarenko, Marc P. Kaufman

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20 Scopus citations


A central motor command arising from the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) is widely believed to be one of the neural mechanisms that reset the baroreceptor reflex upward during exercise. The nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), a dorsal medullary site that receives input from baroreceptors, may be the site where central command inhibits baroreceptor input during exercise. We, therefore, examined the effect of electrical stimulation of the MLR on the impulse activity of cells in the NTS in decerebrate paralyzed cats. Of 129 NTS cells tested for baroreceptor input by injection of phenylephrine (7-25 μg/kg iv) or inflation of a balloon in the carotid sinus, 58 were stimulated and 19 were inhibited. MLR stimulation (80-150 μA) inhibited the discharge of 48 of the 58 cells stimulated by baroreceptor input, MLR stimulation had no effect on the discharge of the remaining 10 cells, each of which displayed no spontaneous activity. In contrast to the 77 NTS cells responsive to baroreceptor input, there was no change in activity of 52 cells when arterial pressure was increased by phenylephrine injection or balloon inflation. MLR stimulation activated each of the 52 NTS cells. For 23 of the cells, the onset latency to MLR stimulation was clearly discernable, averaging 6.4 ± 0.4 ms. Our findings provide electrophysiological evidence for the hypothesis that the MLR inhibits the baroreceptor reflex by activating NTS interneurons unresponsive to baroreceptor input. In turn, these interneurons may release an inhibitory neurotransmitter onto NTS cells receiving baroreceptor input.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2575-H2584
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 58-6
StatePublished - Dec 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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