Changes in neurochemicals within the ventrolateral medullary respiratory column in awake goats after carotid body denervation

Justin Robert Miller, Suzanne Neumueller, Clarissa Muere, Samantha Olesiak, Lawrence Pan, Matthew R Hodges, Hubert V Forster
Journal of Applied Physiology 2013 October 1, 115 (7): 1088-98
A current and major unanswered question is why the highly sensitive central CO2/H(+) chemoreceptors do not prevent hypoventilation-induced hypercapnia following carotid body denervation (CBD). Because perturbations involving the carotid bodies affect central neuromodulator and/or neurotransmitter levels within the respiratory network, we tested the hypothesis that after CBD there is an increase in inhibitory and/or a decrease in excitatory neurochemicals within the ventrolateral medullary column (VMC) in awake goats. Microtubules for chronic use were implanted bilaterally in the VMC within or near the pre-Bötzinger Complex (preBötC) through which mock cerebrospinal fluid (mCSF) was dialyzed. Effluent mCSF was collected and analyzed for neurochemical content. The goats hypoventilated (peak +22.3 ± 3.4 mmHg PaCO2) and exhibited a reduced CO2 chemoreflex (nadir, 34.8 ± 7.4% of control ΔVE/ΔPaCO2) after CBD with significant but limited recovery over 30 days post-CBD. After CBD, GABA and glycine were above pre-CBD levels (266 ± 29% and 189 ± 25% of pre-CBD; P < 0.05), and glutamine and dopamine were significantly below pre-CBD levels (P < 0.05). Serotonin, substance P, and epinephrine were variable but not significantly (P > 0.05) different from control after CBD. Analyses of brainstem tissues collected 30 days after CBD exhibited 1) a midline raphe-specific reduction (P < 0.05) in the percentage of tryptophan hydroxylase-expressing neurons, and 2) a reduction (P < 0.05) in serotonin transporter density in five medullary respiratory nuclei. We conclude that after CBD, an increase in inhibitory neurotransmitters and a decrease in excitatory neuromodulation within the VMC/preBötC likely contribute to the hypoventilation and attenuated ventilatory CO2 chemoreflex.

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