TRPV1 receptors are expressed on most but not all central terminals of cranial visceral afferents in the caudal solitary tract nucleus (NTS). TRPV1 is associated with unmyelinated C-fiber afferents. Both TRPV1+ and TRPV1- afferents enter NTS but their precise organization remains poorly understood. In horizontal brainstem slices, we activated solitary tract (ST) afferents and recorded ST-evoked glutamatergic excitatory synaptic currents (ST-EPSCs) under whole cell voltage clamp conditions from neurons of the medial subnucleus. Electrical shocks to the ST produced fixed latency EPSCs (jitter<200 μs) that identified direct ST afferent innervation. Graded increases in shock intensity often recruited more than one ST afferent and ST-EPSCs had consistent threshold intensity, latency to onset, and unique EPSC waveforms that characterized each unitary ST afferent contact. The TRPV1 agonist capsaicin (100 nM) blocked the evoked TRPV1+ ST-EPSCs and defined them as either TRPV1+ or TRPV1- inputs. No partial responses to capsaicin were observed so that in NTS neurons that received one or multiple (2-5) direct ST afferent inputs - all were either blocked by capsaicin or were unaltered. Since TRPV1 mediates asynchronous release following TRPV1+ ST-evoked EPSCs, we likewise found that recruiting more than one ST afferent further augmented the asynchronous response and was eliminated by capsaicin. Thus, TRPV1+ and TRPV1- afferents are completely segregated to separate NTS neurons. As a result, the TRPV1 receptor augments glutamate release only within unmyelinated afferent pathways in caudal medial NTS and our work indicates a complete separation of C-type from A-type afferent information at these first central neurons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)