Nitric oxide producing neurones in the rat medulla oblongata that project to nucleus tractus solitarii

F. O G Esteves, Peter N. McWilliam, T. F C Batten

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The production of nitric oxide in neurones of the rat medulla oblongata that project to the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) was examined by simultaneous immunohistochemical detection of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and of cholera toxin B-subunit (CTb), which was injected into the caudal zone of the NTS. Neurones immunoreactive for CTb and neurones immunoreactive for NOS were widely co-distributed and found in almost all the anatomical divisions of the medulla. Dual-labelled cells, containing both CTb and NOS immunoreactivities were more numerous ipsilaterally to the injection sites. They were concentrated principally in the more rostral zone of the NTS, raphe nuclei, dorsal, intermediate and lateral reticular areas, spinal trigeminal and paratrigeminal nuclei and the external cuneate and medial vestibular nuclei. Isolated dual-labelled neurones were also scattered throughout most of the divisions of the reticular formation. These observations indicate that many areas of the medulla that are known to relay somatosensory and viscerosensory inputs contain NOS immunoreactive neurones that project to the NTS, and may, therefore, contribute to the dense NOS-immunoreactive innervation of the NTS. The release of nitric oxide from the axon terminals of these neurones may modulate autonomic responses generated by NTS neurones in relation to peripheral sensory stimuli, and thus ultimately regulate sympathetic and/or parasympathetic outflow. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-197
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomic
  • Cholera toxin
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Retrograde tracing


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