Noradrenergic neurons in the rat solitary nucleus participate in the esophageal-gastric relaxation reflex

R. C. Rogers, Renato Alberto Travagli, G. E. Hermann

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Abstract

Activation of esophageal mechanosensors excites neurons in and near the central nucleus of the solitary tract (NSTc). In turn, NSTc neurons coordinate the relaxation of the stomach [i.e., the receptive relaxation reflex (RRR)] by modulating the output of vagal efferent neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMN). The NSTc area contains neurons with diverse neurochemical phenotypes, including a large population of catecholaminergic and nitrergic neurons. The aim of the present study was to determine whether either one of these prominent neuronal phenotypes was involved in the RRR. Immunohistochemical techniques revealed that repetitive esophageal distension caused 53% of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons to colocalize c-Fos in the NSTc. No nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-ir neurons in the NSTc colocalized c-Fos in either distension or control conditions. Local brain stem application (2 ng) of α-adrenoreceptor antagonists (i.e., α1-prazosin or α2-yohimbine) significantly reduced the magnitude of the esophageal distension-induced gastric relaxation to ∼55% of control conditions. The combination of yohimbine and prazosin reduced the magnitude of the reflex to ∼27% of control. In contrast, pretreatment with either the NOS-inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester or the β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol did not interfere with esophageal distension-induced gastric relaxation. Unilateral microinjections of the agonist norepinephrine (0.3 ng) directed at the DMN were sufficient to mimic the transient esophageal-gastric reflex. Our data suggest that noradrenergic, but not nitrergic, neurons of the NSTc play a prominent role in the modulation of the RRR through action on α1- and α2-adrenoreceptors. The finding that esophageal afferent stimulation alone is not sufficient to activate NOS-positive neurons in the NSTc suggests that these neurons may be strongly gated by other central nervous system inputs, perhaps related to the coordination of swallowing or emesis with respiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Volume285
Issue number2 54-2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003

Fingerprint

Adrenergic Neurons
Solitary Nucleus
Reflex
Stomach
Neurons
Nitrergic Neurons
Nitric Oxide Synthase
Yohimbine
Prazosin
Efferent Neurons
Phenotype
NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester
Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
Microinjections
Deglutition
Propranolol
Adrenergic Receptors
Brain Stem
Vomiting
Norepinephrine

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this

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title = "Noradrenergic neurons in the rat solitary nucleus participate in the esophageal-gastric relaxation reflex",
abstract = "Activation of esophageal mechanosensors excites neurons in and near the central nucleus of the solitary tract (NSTc). In turn, NSTc neurons coordinate the relaxation of the stomach [i.e., the receptive relaxation reflex (RRR)] by modulating the output of vagal efferent neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMN). The NSTc area contains neurons with diverse neurochemical phenotypes, including a large population of catecholaminergic and nitrergic neurons. The aim of the present study was to determine whether either one of these prominent neuronal phenotypes was involved in the RRR. Immunohistochemical techniques revealed that repetitive esophageal distension caused 53{\%} of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons to colocalize c-Fos in the NSTc. No nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-ir neurons in the NSTc colocalized c-Fos in either distension or control conditions. Local brain stem application (2 ng) of α-adrenoreceptor antagonists (i.e., α1-prazosin or α2-yohimbine) significantly reduced the magnitude of the esophageal distension-induced gastric relaxation to ∼55{\%} of control conditions. The combination of yohimbine and prazosin reduced the magnitude of the reflex to ∼27{\%} of control. In contrast, pretreatment with either the NOS-inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester or the β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol did not interfere with esophageal distension-induced gastric relaxation. Unilateral microinjections of the agonist norepinephrine (0.3 ng) directed at the DMN were sufficient to mimic the transient esophageal-gastric reflex. Our data suggest that noradrenergic, but not nitrergic, neurons of the NSTc play a prominent role in the modulation of the RRR through action on α1- and α2-adrenoreceptors. The finding that esophageal afferent stimulation alone is not sufficient to activate NOS-positive neurons in the NSTc suggests that these neurons may be strongly gated by other central nervous system inputs, perhaps related to the coordination of swallowing or emesis with respiration.",
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AU - Travagli, Renato Alberto

AU - Hermann, G. E.

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N2 - Activation of esophageal mechanosensors excites neurons in and near the central nucleus of the solitary tract (NSTc). In turn, NSTc neurons coordinate the relaxation of the stomach [i.e., the receptive relaxation reflex (RRR)] by modulating the output of vagal efferent neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMN). The NSTc area contains neurons with diverse neurochemical phenotypes, including a large population of catecholaminergic and nitrergic neurons. The aim of the present study was to determine whether either one of these prominent neuronal phenotypes was involved in the RRR. Immunohistochemical techniques revealed that repetitive esophageal distension caused 53% of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons to colocalize c-Fos in the NSTc. No nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-ir neurons in the NSTc colocalized c-Fos in either distension or control conditions. Local brain stem application (2 ng) of α-adrenoreceptor antagonists (i.e., α1-prazosin or α2-yohimbine) significantly reduced the magnitude of the esophageal distension-induced gastric relaxation to ∼55% of control conditions. The combination of yohimbine and prazosin reduced the magnitude of the reflex to ∼27% of control. In contrast, pretreatment with either the NOS-inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester or the β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol did not interfere with esophageal distension-induced gastric relaxation. Unilateral microinjections of the agonist norepinephrine (0.3 ng) directed at the DMN were sufficient to mimic the transient esophageal-gastric reflex. Our data suggest that noradrenergic, but not nitrergic, neurons of the NSTc play a prominent role in the modulation of the RRR through action on α1- and α2-adrenoreceptors. The finding that esophageal afferent stimulation alone is not sufficient to activate NOS-positive neurons in the NSTc suggests that these neurons may be strongly gated by other central nervous system inputs, perhaps related to the coordination of swallowing or emesis with respiration.

AB - Activation of esophageal mechanosensors excites neurons in and near the central nucleus of the solitary tract (NSTc). In turn, NSTc neurons coordinate the relaxation of the stomach [i.e., the receptive relaxation reflex (RRR)] by modulating the output of vagal efferent neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMN). The NSTc area contains neurons with diverse neurochemical phenotypes, including a large population of catecholaminergic and nitrergic neurons. The aim of the present study was to determine whether either one of these prominent neuronal phenotypes was involved in the RRR. Immunohistochemical techniques revealed that repetitive esophageal distension caused 53% of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons to colocalize c-Fos in the NSTc. No nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-ir neurons in the NSTc colocalized c-Fos in either distension or control conditions. Local brain stem application (2 ng) of α-adrenoreceptor antagonists (i.e., α1-prazosin or α2-yohimbine) significantly reduced the magnitude of the esophageal distension-induced gastric relaxation to ∼55% of control conditions. The combination of yohimbine and prazosin reduced the magnitude of the reflex to ∼27% of control. In contrast, pretreatment with either the NOS-inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester or the β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol did not interfere with esophageal distension-induced gastric relaxation. Unilateral microinjections of the agonist norepinephrine (0.3 ng) directed at the DMN were sufficient to mimic the transient esophageal-gastric reflex. Our data suggest that noradrenergic, but not nitrergic, neurons of the NSTc play a prominent role in the modulation of the RRR through action on α1- and α2-adrenoreceptors. The finding that esophageal afferent stimulation alone is not sufficient to activate NOS-positive neurons in the NSTc suggests that these neurons may be strongly gated by other central nervous system inputs, perhaps related to the coordination of swallowing or emesis with respiration.

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