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J Physiol. 1999 Nov 15;521 Pt 1:227-38.

Differential effects of angiotensin II in the nucleus tractus solitarii of the rat--plausible neuronal mechanism.

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Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.

Erratum in

  • J Physiol (Lond) 1999 Dec 15;521 Pt 3:761.


1. Cellular mechanisms of the actions of angiotensin II (ANGII) within the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) were studied using rat brain slices in 78 neurones recorded in the whole-cell configuration. Twenty-nine per cent of cells had an on-going activity and with only one exception these cells responded to tractus solitarii (TS) stimulation with a monophasic excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP). In approximately half of the silent cells, TS stimulation evoked an EPSP-inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP) complex. 2. The ANGII (200 or 1000 nM) effect on TS-evoked EPSPs depended on the cell subpopulation. In cells with on-going activity, ANGII (1000 nM) increased evoked EPSP amplitude by +70 +/- 13 % (means +/- s.e.m., n = 5) but reduced it (200 and 1000 nM) in silent cells where both evoked EPSPs and IPSPs were present. ANGII either increased TS-evoked IPSP conductances in cells where they were detectable or revealed an evoked IPSP (200 nM ANGII: IPSP conductance increased from 70 +/- 29 to 241 +/- 34 pS; n = 11). All ANGII effects were prevented by the ANGII type 1 (AT1) receptor blocker losartan. Since 200 nM ANGII did not increase responses to iontophoretically applied GABA, the effect of ANGII on TS-evoked IPSPs may occur presynaptically. 3. The neurokinin type 1 (NK1) receptor antagonist CP-99,994 (5 microM) blocked the ANGII-induced increase in EPSPs but had no effect on TS-evoked IPSP potentiation by ANGII. 4. Thus, ANGII can potentiate both inhibitory and excitatory synaptic transmission within different subpopulations of NTS neurones. Potentiation of evoked EPSPs, but not of IPSPs, involves activation of NK1 receptors. The balance of these actions of ANGII could be reflex specific: for the baroreflex circuitry the inhibitory action might predominate while the peripheral chemoreceptor reflex may be facilitated due to enhanced excitatory transmission.

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