Activity of arterial baroreceptors is modulated by neurohumoral factors, including nitric oxide (NO), released from endothelial cells. Baroreceptor reflex responses can also be modulated by NO signaling in the brainstem nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), the primary central target of cardiovascular afferents. Our recent studies indicate that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is abundantly expressed by developing and adult baroreceptor afferents in vivo, and released from cultured nodose ganglion (NG) neurons by patterns of baroreceptor activity. Using electrical field stimulation and ELISA in situ, we show that exogenous NO nearly abolishes BDNF release from newborn rat NG neurons in vitro stimulated with single pulses delivered at 6 Hz, but not 2-pulse bursts delivered at the same 6-Hz frequency, that corresponds to a rat heart rate. Application of L-NAME, a specific inhibitor of endogenous NO synthases, does not have any significant effect on activity-dependent BDNF release, but leads to upregulation of BDNF expression in an activity-dependent manner. The latter effect suggests a novel mechanism of homeostatic regulation of activity-dependent BDNF expression with endogenous NO as a key player. The exogenous NO-mediated effect does not involve the cGMP-protein kinase G (PKG) pathway, but is largely inhibited by N-ethylmaleimide and TEMPOL that are known to prevent S-nitrosylation. Together, our current data identify previously unknown mechanisms regulating BDNF availability, and point to NO as a likely regulator of BDNF at baroafferent synapses in the NTS.
- Electrical field stimulation
- Nodose ganglion
- Sodium channel
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience