Effects of kainic acid applied to the ventral surface of the medulla oblongata on vasomotor tone, the baroreceptor reflex and hypothalamic autonomic responses

R. M. McAllen, J. J. Neil, A. D. Loewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations

Abstract

Application of an excitotoxic amino acid, kainic acid, to the ventral medullary surface just caudal to the trapezoid bodies (at Feldberg and Guertzenstein's glycine-sensitive area) led to the following observations. 1. (1) Blood pressure began to rise within 25 s and by 10 min rose to high levels (200-240 mm Hg). Blood pressure subsequently fell to levels at or approaching those of a spinal animal. 2. (2) Sympathetic vasomotor activity became insensitive to baroreceptor inhibition s shortly after the peak in blood pressure, and the cardioinhibitory action of the reflex was enhanced during this time. 3. (3) The autonomic effects of hypothalamic stimulation were differentially affected - pupillary dilatation retrattion of the nictitating membranes were unaffected, while the increases in blood pressure and renal activity were blocked. 4. (4) Recovery from these effects was observed on two occasions, when the animals were infused with a pressor agent and allowed to survive beyond 6 h after the kainic acid application. These results support the view that vasomotor tone is dependent upon the activity of relatively superficial cells in the ventral medulla. We further suggest that baroreceptor inhibition of sympathetic vasomotor activity acts via these cells and that descending hypothalamic autonomic pathways are organized at this level in terms of separate end organs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Volume238
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 22 1982

Keywords

  • baroreceptor reflex
  • blood pressure
  • hypothalamus
  • kainic acid
  • ventral medulla

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