Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/124911
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Type: Journal article
Title: Physical (in)activity-dependent structural plasticity in bulbospinal catecholaminergic neurons of rat rostral ventrolateral medulla
Author: Mischel, N.
Llewellyn-Smith, I.
Mueller, P.
Citation: Journal of Comparative Neurology, 2014; 522(3):499-513
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 0021-9967
1096-9861
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Responsibility: 
Nicholas A. Mischel, Ida J. Llewellyn‐Smith, Patrick J. Mueller
Abstract: 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 (P < 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.
Keywords: Sympathetic nervous system; sedentary; neuroplasticity
Rights: © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
RMID: 1000014212
DOI: 10.1002/cne.23464
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1025031
Appears in Collections:Medicine publications

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