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Brain Struct Funct. 2015 Jan;220(1):117-34. doi: 10.1007/s00429-013-0642-3. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

Distribution and neurochemical characterization of neurons in the rat ventrolateral medulla activated by glucoprivation.

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The Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, 2 Technology Place, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia.


Hypoglycemia elicits physiological and behavioral responses which are mediated in part by neurons within the ventrolateral medulla (VLM). The present study describes the neurochemistry of neurons activated by glucoprivation (2-deoxy-D-glucose, 2DG), specifically those within regions containing the A1, caudal C1 (cC1) and rostral C1 (rC1) cell groups. 2DG induced c-Fos immunoreactivity throughout the VLM. Activated neurons expressing prepro-cocaine and amphetamine-regulated transcript (PPCART), neuropeptide Y (NPY), glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD67) or prepro-enkephalin (PPE) mRNA and/or immunoreactivity (-ir) for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) were identified. TH(+) neurons were recruited in a dose-dependent manner. At high doses of 2DG [400 mg/kg, (n = 6)], 76 ± 1.2 % of activated neurons were TH(+) representing 52 ± 1.3 % of the total TH population. Virtually all activated neurons in the A1 and cC1 regions but only 60 % in the rC1 region were TH(+). Within the A1 region, TH(+), TH(+)NPY(+) and TH(+)NPY(+)PPE(+) subpopulations were activated and likely regulate vasopressin, oxytocin, and corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) from the hypothalamus. Within the cC1 region, non-TH neurons, TH(+)NPY(+), TH(+)NPY(+)PPCART(+), and TH(+)NPY(+)PPE(+) subpopulations were activated, likely regulating autonomic hypothalamic neurons or CRH and thyrotropin releasing hormone secretion. Within the rC1 region, non-TH neurons (40 % of those activated) were predominantly PPE(+) and were recruited by higher 2DG doses. Of the TH(+) activated neurons in the rC1 region, many expressed PPCART and half expressed NPY. The activated spinally projecting population was almost entirely TH(+)PPCART(+) and is likely to regulate adrenaline and glucagon release. These data indicate that glucoprivation activates at least nine phenotypically distinct populations of neurons in the VLM.

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