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J Physiol. 1972 Jun;223(2):525-48.

The role of the solitary and paramedian reticular nuclei in mediating cardiovascular reflex responses from carotid baro- and chemoreceptors.


1. With dye-filled micro-electrodes single neurones in the medulla of anaesthetized paralysed cats were identified which: (a) fired rhythmically in synchrony with or were modulated by the cardiac cycle, and which ceased firing with occlusion of the ipsilateral common carotid artery (carotid sinus baroreceptor neurones); (b) were excited by stimulation of carotid body chemoreceptors by close intra-arterial injection of lobeline into the thyroid artery (carotid body chemoreceptor neurones).2. Twelve carotid baroreceptor neurones were identified, in thirty-three cats, nine of which were localized in the intermediate area of the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) within 1 mm ahead of or behind the obex; three units were located either in the parahypoglossal area or the dorsal portion of the paramedian reticular nucleus (PRN).3. Of the twenty-one carotid chemoreceptor neurones which were identified, thirteen were localized in the NTS, three in the parahypoglossal area and four in the dorsal PRN.4. Bilateral lesions of the paramedian reticular area of medulla destroying the PRN, abolished or reversed the depressor response to electrical stimulation of myelinated fibres of the carotid sinus nerve (CSN), attenuated the depressor response to carotid sinus stretch and augmented the pressor response to chemoreceptor stimulation by lobeline. Such lesions did not significantly alter the reflex heart rate responses.5. Small lesions of the NTS within an area 1 mm rostral to the obex abolished all reflex blood pressure and heart rate responses to electrical stimulation of the CSN or natural stimulation of carotid baro- or chemoreceptors.6. Baroreceptors and chemoreceptors of the CSN project both to the intermediate zone of the NTS and to more medial areas of the medulla, particularly the dorsal PRN and parahypoglossal area.7. The PRN serves to mediate the reflex depressor, but not cardio-vagal, response from myelinated baroreceptors and buffers the pressor responses from chemoreceptors; it may serve as an important area integrating cardiovascular activity descending from forebrain, brain stem and cerebellum with baroreceptor reflexes.8. Cardiovascular reflex responses arising from non-myelinated baroreceptors and all chemoreceptors are mediated by neurones in the intermediate area of the NTS.

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