In anesthetized spinalized rat, electrical stimulation of the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) synchronizes the EEG by increasing the power of 4-6-Hz waves (>100%; P<0.01), and elevates cerebral blood flow (rCBF) by 18±5% (P<0.05). The coordinated response appears within seconds, is global, reversible, graded, evoked from the commissural sub-nucleus, and replicated by L-glutamate. The responses are markedly reduced by bilateral lesions or muscimol microinjections restricted to a region of ventral medullary reticular formation, the medullary cerebral vasodilator area (MCVA), a region from which stimulation elicits identical responses and mediates the comparable responses to hypoxic/ischemic excitation of sympathoexcitatory neurons of rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM). We conclude that: (a) excitation of intrinsic neurons of commissural NTS synchronizes the EEG and coordinately elevates rCBF; (b) the responses are mediated by excitation of neurons in MCVA; (c) the MCVA may be a common final pathway mediating cerebrovascular and EEG responses from multiple areas of CNS; and (d) the NTS-MCVA pathway may be a part of the anatomical substrate for behaviors, including slow-wave sleep and seizure suppression evoked by stimulation of visceral afferents terminating in NTS.
- Cerebral blood flow
- Nucleus tractus solitarius
- Rostral ventrolateral medulla
ASJC Scopus subject areas