Depressor and bradycardic responses to microinjections of endomorphin-2 into the NTS are mediated via ionotropic glutamate receptors

Ken Kasamatsu, Vineet C. Chitravanshi, Hreday N. Sapru

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The presence of endomorphin-like immunoreactivity has been reported in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS). It was hypothesized that endomorphins may play a role in cardiovascular regulation in the medial subnucleus of the NTS (mNTS). Endomorphin-2 (E-2, 0.1-4 mmol/l) was microinjected (100 nl) into the mNTS of urethane-anesthetized, artificially ventilated, adult male Wistar rats. E-2 (0.2 mmol/l) elicited decreases in mean arterial pressure (40 ± 3.5 mmHg) and heart rate (50 ± 7.0 beats/ min). These responses were blocked by prior microinjections of naloxonazine (1 mmol/l) into the mNTS. Responses to microinjections of E-2 into the mNTS were abolished by prior combined microinjections of d-2-amino-7-phosphonoheptanoic acid (an NMDA receptor antagonist, 5 mmol/l) and 2,3-dioxo-6-nitro-1,2,3,4-tetrahydrobenzo[f] quinoxarine-7-sulfonamide disodium (a non-NMDA receptor antagonist, 2 mmol/l) into the mNTS. These results were confirmed by extracellular neuronal recordings. Blockade of GABA receptors in the mNTS by prior combined microinjections of gabazine (a GABAA receptor antagonist, 2 mmol/l) and 2-hydroxysaclofen (a GABAB receptor antagonist, 100 mmol/l) also blocked the responses to E-2. It was concluded that 1) the depressor and bradycardic responses to microinjections of E-2 into the mNTS are mediated via μ1-opioid receptors as well as ionotropic glutamate receptors, 2) GABAergic neurons in the mNTS, which may inhibit the release of glutamate from nerve terminals, are inhibited by E-2 via μ1-opioid receptors, and 3) disinhibition caused by the inhibition of GABAergic neurons by E-2 may result in an increase in the glutamate release from nerve terminals, which, in turn, may elicit depressor and bradycardic responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R715-R728
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4 56-4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


  • Bradycardia
  • Depressor responses
  • Opioid peptides

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