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Neuroscience. 2002;113(3):555-67.

Haemorrhage-evoked compensation and decompensation are mediated by distinct caudal midline medullary regions in the urethane-anaesthetised rat.

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Department of Anatomy and Histology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Previous research using microinjections of excitatory amino acids suggested that the caudal midline medulla (including nucleus raphe obscurus and nucleus raphe pallidus) contained a mixed population of sympathoexcitatory and sympathoinhibitory neurones. The results of this study indicate that different anaesthetic regimes (urethane versus halothane) determine whether sympathoexcitatory (urethane only) or sympathoinhibitory (halothane only) responses are evoked by stimulation within distinct caudal midline medullary regions. In addition, anaesthetic regimes also affect the caudal midline medullary-mediated response to haemorrhage. Specifically, under conditions of urethane anaesthesia, inactivation (lignocaine) of the midline medullary region immediately caudal to the obex, prematurely triggered and dramatically potentiated the hypotension and bradycardia evoked by 15% haemorrhage; whereas under halothane anaesthesia, inactivation of the same region had no effect. In contrast, under urethane anaesthesia, inactivation of the midline medullary region immediately rostral to the obex, delayed the onset of the hypotension and bradycardia to 15% haemorrhage; inactivation of the same region under halothane anaesthesia blocked haemorrhage-evoked hypotension and bradycardia. Our findings indicate that topographically distinct parts of the caudal midline medulla contain neurones (i) that differentially regulate the timing and magnitude of the compensatory (normotensive) versus decompensatory (hypotensive) phases of the response to haemorrhage; and (ii) whose activity is altered by urethane versus halothane anaesthesia.

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