Changes in Neurochemicals Within the Ventrolateral Medullary Respiratory Column in Awake Goats After Carotid Body Denervation

Document Type




Format of Original

11 p.

Publication Date



American Physiological Society

Source Publication

Journal of Applied Physiology

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00293.2013


A current and major unanswered question is why the highly sensitive central CO2/H+ chemoreceptors do not prevent hypoventilation-induced hypercapnia following carotid body denervation (CBD). Because perturbations involving the carotid bodies affect central neuromodulator and/or neurotransmitter levels within the respiratory network, we tested the hypothesis that after CBD there is an increase in inhibitory and/or a decrease in excitatory neurochemicals within the ventrolateral medullary column (VMC) in awake goats. Microtubules for chronic use were implanted bilaterally in the VMC within or near the pre-Bötzinger Complex (preBötC) through which mock cerebrospinal fluid (mCSF) was dialyzed. Effluent mCSF was collected and analyzed for neurochemical content. The goats hypoventilated (peak +22.3 ± 3.4 mmHg PaCO2) and exhibited a reduced CO2 chemoreflex (nadir, 34.8 ± 7.4% of control ΔV̇E/ΔPaCO2) after CBD with significant but limited recovery over 30 days post-CBD. After CBD, GABA and glycine were above pre-CBD levels (266 ± 29% and 189 ± 25% of pre-CBD; P < 0.05), and glutamine and dopamine were significantly below pre-CBD levels (P < 0.05). Serotonin, substance P, and epinephrine were variable but not significantly (P > 0.05) different from control after CBD. Analyses of brainstem tissues collected 30 days after CBD exhibited 1) a midline raphe-specific reduction (P < 0.05) in the percentage of tryptophan hydroxylase–expressing neurons, and 2) a reduction (P < 0.05) in serotonin transporter density in five medullary respiratory nuclei. We conclude that after CBD, an increase in inhibitory neurotransmitters and a decrease in excitatory neuromodulation within the VMC/preBötC likely contribute to the hypoventilation and attenuated ventilatory CO2 chemoreflex.


Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 115, No. 7 (October 1st, 2013): 1088-1098. DOI.