Differentiation of autonomic reflex control begins with cellular mechanisms at the first synapse within the nucleus tractus solitarius

Michael Andresen, M. W. Doyle, T. W. Bailey, Y. H. Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Visceral afferents send information via cranial nerves to the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS). The NTS is the initial step of information processing that culminates in homeostatic reflex responses. Recent evidence suggests that strong afferent synaptic responses in the NTS are most often modulated by depression and this forms a basic principle of central integration of these autonomic pathways. The visceral afferent synapse is uncommonly powerful at the NTS with large unitary response amplitudes and depression rather than facilitation at moderate to high frequencies of activation. Substantial signal depression occurs through multiple mechanisms at this very first brainstem synapse onto second order NTS neurons. This review highlights new approaches to the study of these basic processes featuring patch clamp recordings in NTS brain slices and optical techniques with fluorescent tracers. The vanilloid receptor agonist, capsaicin, distinguishes two classes of second order neurons (capsaicin sensitive or capsaicin resistant) that appear to reflect unmyelinated and myelinated afferent pathways. The differences in cellular properties of these two classes of NTS neurons indicate clear functional differentiation at both the pre- and postsynaptic portions of these first synapses. By virtue of their position at the earliest stage of these pathways, such mechanistic differences probably impart important differentiation in the performance over the entire reflex pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-558
Number of pages10
JournalBrazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Volume37
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

Fingerprint

capsaicin
Solitary Nucleus
Capsaicin
synapse
reflexes
Synapses
Neurons
Reflex
neurons
TRPV Cation Channels
Visceral Afferents
Clamping devices
brain stem
agonists
Depression
tracer techniques
Brain
nerve tissue
Chemical activation
brain

Keywords

  • Autonomic
  • Glutamate
  • Potassium currents
  • Presynaptic modulation
  • Sensory
  • Vanilloid
  • Visceral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Differentiation of autonomic reflex control begins with cellular mechanisms at the first synapse within the nucleus tractus solitarius. / Andresen, Michael; Doyle, M. W.; Bailey, T. W.; Jin, Y. H.

In: Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, Vol. 37, No. 4, 04.2004, p. 549-558.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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