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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2008 Dec 10;164(1-2):105-11. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2008.04.013.

Plasticity in glutamatergic NTS neurotransmission.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Missouri, 134 Research Park Dr., Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


Changes in the physiological state of an animal or human can result in alterations in the cardiovascular and respiratory system in order to maintain homeostasis. Accordingly, the cardiovascular and respiratory systems are not static but readily adapt under a variety of circumstances. The same can be said for the brainstem circuits that control these systems. The nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) is the central integration site of baroreceptor and chemoreceptor sensory afferent fibers. This central nucleus, and in particular the synapse between the sensory afferent and second-order NTS cell, possesses a remarkable degree of plasticity in response to a variety of stimuli, both acute and chronic. This brief review is intended to describe the plasticity observed in the NTS as well as the locus and mechanisms as they are currently understood. The functional consequence of NTS plasticity is also discussed.

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