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Physical (in)activity dependent structural plasticity in bulbospinal catecholaminergic neurons of rat rostral ventrolateral medulla

By NA Mischel, PJ Mueller and Ida Jonassen Llewellyn-Smith

Abstract

ARC and NHMRC funded authors may self-archive the author accepted version of their paper (authors manuscript) after a 12-month embargo period from publication in an open access institutional repository.This item is under embargo for a period of 12 months from the date of publication, in accordance with the publisher's policy.Increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system is thought to play a role in the development and progression of cardiovascular disease. Recent work has shown that physical inactivity versus activity alters neuronal structure in brain regions associated with cardiovascular regulation. Our physiological studies suggest that neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) are more responsive to excitation in sedentary versus physically active animals. We hypothesized that enhanced functional responses in the RVLM may be due, in part, to changes in the structure of RVLM neurons that control sympathetic activity. We used retrograde tracing and immunohistochemistry for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) to identify bulbospinal catecholaminergic (C1) neurons in sedentary and active rats after chronic voluntary wheel-running exercise. We then digitally reconstructed their cell bodies and dendrites at different rostrocaudal levels. The dendritic arbors of spinally projecting TH neurons from sedentary rats were more branched than those of physically active rats (Pā€‰<ā€‰0.05). In sedentary rats, dendritic branching was greater in more rostral versus more caudal bulbospinal C1 neurons, whereas, in physically active rats, dendritic branching was consistent throughout the RVLM. In contrast, cell body size and the number of primary dendrites did not differ between active and inactive animals. We suggest that these structural changes provide an anatomical underpinning for the functional differences observed in our in vivo studies. These inactivity-related structural and functional changes may enhance the overall sensitivity of RVLM neurons to excitatory stimuli and contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in sedentary individuals

Topics: neuroplasticity, sedentary, sympathetic nervous system
Publisher: Wiley
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1002/cne.23464
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.flinders.edu.au:2328/27465
Journal:

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