Somatostatin 2 Receptor Activation in the Rostral Ventrolateral Medulla Does not Mediate the Decompensatory Phase of Haemorrhage

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Abstract

Decompensation, a critical phase in the response to haemorrhage, is characterized by profound sympathoinhibition and the overriding of baroreflex mediated compensation. As sympathoexcitatory neurons of the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) maintain vasomotor tone and are essential for sympathetic baroreceptor reflex function, the RVLM is the likely mediator. However, how decompensation occurs is a mystery. Our previous work demonstrated that the inhibitory neuropeptide somatostatin (SST), evokes potent sympathoinhibition (1). Here we test the hypothesis that, in response to hypovolemia, SST in the RVLM evokes sympathoinhibition, driving decompensation and suppressing baroreflex compensation. We evaluated neuronal activation at sites that contain SST mRNA and project to the RVLM and, in SST2A expressing neurons in the RVLM. We determined the effects on cardiovascular and sympathetic responses to haemorrhage, of bilateral blockade of SST2 receptors in both the RVLM and A1 regions. Haemorrhage in conscious rats evoked c-Fos immunoreactivity in the amygdala, periaqueductal gray, and parabrachial nuclei, regions previously associated with haemorrhage, shown to contain SST and project to the RVLM. Although c-Fos labelling was found throughout the ventrolateral medulla, only a small subset of RVLM SST2A receptor expressing neurons were activated, consistent with the idea that these neurons are inhibited during haemorrhage. However, SST2 receptor antagonists bilaterally injected in the RVLM or the A1 region did not affect the decompensation response to haemorrhage. Thus somatostatin in the RVLM does not mediate decompensation. The physiological role associated with somatostatin induced sympathoinhibition in the RVLM together with the central mechanisms responsible for decompensation remain elusive.

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