The present study sought to establish functional connections between two regions in the hypothalamus associated with the cardiorespiratory concomitants of affective behavior, and neurons in the dorsal medulla thought to be involved in the mediation of the baroreceptor reflex. Single cell recordings were made in the solitary complex of the medulla (nucleus of the tractus solitarius and dorsal vagus nucleus) of anesthetized rabbits. An attempt was made to modulate the activity of these neurons by electrically stimulating two hypothalamic sites: the hypothalamic defense area (HDA) and the hypothalamic vigilance area (HVA). Responses of solitary complex neurons to a bolus injection of phenylephrine and an injection of physiological saline in a blind sac preparation were assessed in order to test for baroreceptor input. Electrical stimulation of the HDA or the HVA was found to decrease the firing rate of most solitary complex neurons that responded to hypothalamic stimulation. The cells that did show an increase in firing rate were responding to HVA stimulation. Ninety-two percent of the neurons in the solitary complex that responded to HDA or HVA stimulation were also affected by baroreceptor activation. The connections between the HDA, HVA and the solitary complex may account, in part, for the distinctive patterns of cardiorespiratory responses observed when stimulating these two hypothalamic regions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology