The expression of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptor subunits GluR1-4 in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) of adult Wistar rats was examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and the neuronal localisation of these receptor subunits in the NTS were confirmed by immunohistochemistry using subunit-specific antibodies. Semi-quantitative PCR was used to investigate differences in AMPA receptor subunit expression between spontaneously hypertensive rats (SH) and age-matched normotensive Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY). All four receptor subunits were expressed in both strains, but compared to WKY, total AMPA receptor and the GluR3 mRNA expressions were significantly higher in SH. No differences were detected in cDNA form the cerebral cortex or cerebellum. Immunolabelling for GluRs 1, 2 and 2/3 in the neuropil relative to neuronal somata in the cardioregulatory areas of the NTS appeared to be increased in SH, with an overall increase in the density of GluR2/3 labelling in the medial and commissural NTS of SH. These results indicate a possible role for changes in AMPA receptor subunit expression in NTS neurones, involving an increase in GluR3 associated with development of hypertension in SH.
- Glutamate receptor
- Nucleus of the solitary tract
- Polymerase chain reaction