Vasopressor and depressor areas in the rat medulla. Identification by microinjection of l-glutamate

R. N. Willette, P. P. Barcas, A. J. Krieger, H. N. Sapru

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239 Scopus citations


l-Glutamate (in 0.1 μl of 0.9% NaCl) was injected via multibarrelled glass micropipettes into the ventrolateral medulla of urethane-anesthetized rats. This area, explored stereotaxically, extended from 2.2mm rostral (near trapezoid bodies) to 0.4mm caudal, with respect to the obex, 2.4mm lateral to the mid-line on each side and 2.4mm deep from the ventral surface of the medulla. Two types of responses were elicited by injection of l-glutamate. One type was a dose-related increase in arterial pressure and heart rate; these responses were elicited from the lateral portion of nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis, the medial aspect of nucleus reticularis parvocellularis and the dorsal-lateral reticular nucleus. The second type of response was a dose-related fall in arterial pressure with no change in heart rate; this response was localized caudal to pressure areas in the caudal ventrolateral part of nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis, ventrolateral nucleus reticularis ventralis, nucleus ambiguus and the A1 region. Glutamic acid diethylester (GDEE), an antagonist of l-glutamate, blocked all the cardiovascular effects of l-glutamate. These results indicate the presence of receptors for glutamate in the pressor and depressor areas. Glutamic acid diethylester caused a fall in blood pressure when injected on its own into pressor sites suggesting the existence of a glutaminergic input to the pressor sites. Inhibition of neuronal activity in pressor sites produced by microinjection of muscimol (a potent neuroinhibitory analogue of GABA) caused a decrease in blood pressure. On the other hand, pressor responses resulted following similar inhibition in the depressor sites. These results indicate that the pressor and depressor sites identified in the ventral medulla of the rat may have an important role to play in central cardiovascular regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1079
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • GABA
  • glutamate
  • glutamate antagonist
  • microinjections
  • muscimol
  • vasodepressor area
  • vasopressor area
  • ventrolateral medulla


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