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Evidence that hemorrhagic hypotension is mediated by the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray region.

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  • 1Department of Basic and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Albany College of Pharmacy, 106 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY 12208, USA.


Severe hemorrhage lowers arterial pressure by suppressing sympathetic activity. This study tested the hypothesis that the decompensatory phase of hemorrhage is mediated by the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG), a region importantly involved in the autonomic and behavioral responses to stress and trauma. Neuronal activity in the vlPAG was inhibited with either lidocaine or cobalt chloride 5 min before hemorrhage (2.5 ml/100 g body wt) was initiated in conscious, unrestrained rats. Bilateral injection of lidocaine (0.5 microl of a 2% or 1 microl of a 5% solution) into the caudal vlPAG delayed the onset and reduced the magnitude of the hypotension produced by hemorrhage significantly. In contrast, inactivation of the dorsolateral PAG with lidocaine was ineffective. Cobalt chloride (5 mM; 0.5 microl), which inhibits synaptic transmission but not axonal conductance, also attenuated hemorrhagic hypotension significantly. Microinjection of lidocaine or cobalt chloride into the vlPAG of normotensive, nonhemorrhaged rats did not influence cardiovascular function. These data indicate that the vlPAG plays an important role in the response to hemorrhage.

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