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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jun 20;92(13):6032-6.

Inhibitory influence of frontal cortex on locus coeruleus neurons.

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  • 1Institut des Neurosciences, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France.


The functional influence of the frontal cortex (FC) on the noradrenergic nucleus locus coeruleus (LC) was studied in the rat under ketamine anesthesia. The FC was inactivated by local infusion of lidocaine or ice-cold Ringer's solution while recording neuronal activity simultaneously in FC and LC. Lidocaine produced a transient increase in activity in FC, accompanied by a decrease in LC unit and multiunit activity. This was followed by a total inactivation of FC and a sustained increase in firing rate of LC neurons. Subsequent experiments revealed antidromic responses in the FC when stimulation was applied to the LC region. The antidromic responses in FC were found in a population of neurons (about 8%) restricted to the dorsomedial area, FR2. The results indicate that there is a strong inhibitory influence of FC on the tonic activity of LC neurons. The antidromic responses in FC to stimulation of the LC region suggest that this influence is locally mediated, perhaps through interneurons within the nucleus or neighboring the LC.

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