Synaptic terminals in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) from axons originating in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) are known to contain γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) immunoreactivity. Here, we have investigated whether such projections contain neuropeptides as putative co-transmitters. Somata in the medial and lateral CeA that were retrogradely labelled with cholera toxin B (CTb) injected into the commissural NTS were found to be immunoreactive for GABA, somatostatin (SOM), neurotensin (NT), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Subpopulations of fibres in the NTS that were anterogradely labelled with biotin dextran amine (BDA) injected into the CeA and examined using both fluorescence and electron microscopy appeared to colocalise somatostatin, but not other neuropeptides. Their varicosities were observed in proximity to NTS neurones that were immunoreactive for the somatostatin receptor sst2A subtype, substance P (SP) NK1 receptor, and the GABAA receptor α3, β1 and γ2 subunits. This morphological evidence is consistent with the possibility of GABA-somatostatin co-transmission at synapses of some of the CeA projection neurones to NTS that might inhibit cardiovascular reflex responses in response to fear or emotion-related stimuli.
- Anterograde tracing
- Electron microscopy
- Nucleus of the solitary tract
- Retrograde tracing
- Somatostatin receptor