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Involvement of ERK phosphorylation in brainstem neurons in modulation of swallowing reflex in rats

By Takanori Tsujimura, Masahiro Kondo, Junichi Kitagawa, Yoshiyuki Tsuboi, Kimiko Saito, Haruka Tohara, Koichiro Ueda, Barry J Sessle and Koichi Iwata

Abstract

In order to evaluate the neuronal mechanisms underlying functional abnormalities of swallowing in orofacial pain patients, this study investigated the effects of noxious orofacial stimulation on the swallowing reflex, phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) immunohistochemical features in brainstem neurons, and also analysed the effects of brainstem lesioning and of microinjection of GABA receptor agonist or antagonist into the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) on the swallowing reflex in anaesthetized rats. The swallowing reflex elicited by topical administration of distilled water to the pharyngolaryngeal region was inhibited after capsaicin injection into the facial (whisker pad) skin or lingual muscle. The capsaicin-induced inhibitory effect on the swallowing reflex was itself depressed after the intrathecal administration of MAPK kinase (MEK) inhibitor. No change in the capsaicin-induced inhibitory effect was observed after trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis lesioning, but the inhibitory effect was diminished by paratrigeminal nucleus (Pa5) lesioning. Many pERK-like immunoreactive neurons in the NTS showed GABA immunoreactivity. The local microinjection of the GABAA receptor agonist muscimol into the NTS produced a significant reduction in swallowing reflex, and the capsaicin-induced depression of the swallowing reflex was abolished by microinjection of the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline into the NTS. The present findings suggest that facial skin–NTS, lingual muscle–NTS and lingual muscle–Pa5–NTS pathways are involved in the modulation of swallowing reflex by facial and lingual pain, respectively, and that the activation of GABAergic NTS neurons is involved in the inhibition of the swallowing reflex following noxious stimulation of facial and intraoral structures

Topics: Neuroscience
Publisher: Blackwell Science Inc
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2669972
Provided by: PubMed Central
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