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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pattern of cardiorespiratory afferent convergence to solitary tract neurons driven by pulmonary vagal C-fiber stimulation in the mouse.

The central integration of signals from pulmonary vagal C-fibers (or type-J receptors) with those arising from cardiac, peripheral chemoreceptor, and baroreceptor afferents to neurons within the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) was studied in an arterially perfused working heart-brain stem preparation of adult mouse. Pulmonary vagal C-fibers were excited by right atrial injection of phenylbiguanide (PBG) while cardiac receptors were stimulated by left ventricular injection of veratridine (1-3 micrograms/kg) or mechanically by distension of the left ventricle (20-50 microl perfusate) using an indwelling cannula. Carotid body chemoreceptors were activated by aortic injection of Na cyanide, whereas baroreceptors were stimulated by increasing arterial perfusion pressure. Stimulation of pulmonary C-fibers and cardiac, chemo-, and baroreceptors all produced a reflex bradycardia (23-133 bpm). Central respiratory activity, as recorded from the phrenic nerve, was depressed by stimulating pulmonary C-fibers and cardiac and baroreceptors but enhanced in amplitude and frequency during chemoreceptor stimulation. Twenty-seven NTS neurons were excited and three were inhibited after pulmonary C-fiber stimulation displaying decrementing discharges with a peak firing frequency of up to 42 Hz (15 +/- 2.2 Hz, mean +/- SE) that lasted for 8.8 +/- 0.9 s. These responses occurred <1 s from the end of the PBG injection that was within the pulmonary circulation time. None of these cells responded to increases in right atrial pressure. All cells excited by PBG were also driven synaptically after electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral cervical vagus nerve at a latency of 32.9 +/- 3.2 ms (range 20-62 ms). None of these neurons had ongoing activity related to central respiratory activity. Convergence from cardiorespiratory afferents to 21 neurons driven by pulmonary C-fibers was tested. Twenty-five percent of cells were selectively excited by chemical stimulation of cardiac receptors alone, 19% were driven by peripheral chemoreceptors, and 38% responded to both cardiac and chemoreceptor activation. In contrast, only 13% of the cells activated by PBG injection responded to stimulation of baroreceptors and only 6% to cardiac mechanoreceptor stimulation. None of these neurons were activated by increasing right atrial pressure. The data indicate a high proportion of afferent convergence from pulmonary C-fibers, cardiac receptors, and peripheral chemoreceptors in the NTS. However, these neurons appear not to integrate inputs from cardiovascular mechanoreceptors. The significance of the data is discussed in relation to pathological disease states such as pulmonary congestion and cardiac failure.[1]


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