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J Neurosci 2008 Jan 09;282:519-28. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3666-07.2008.
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Alpha4* nicotinic receptors in preBotzinger complex mediate cholinergic/nicotinic modulation of respiratory rhythm.

Shao XM , Tan W , Xiu J , Puskar N , Fonck C , Lester HA , Feldman JL .

Acetylcholine and nicotine can modulate respiratory patterns by acting on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the preBötzinger complex (preBötC). To further explore the molecular composition of these nAChRs, we studied a knock-in mouse strain with a leucine-to-alanine mutation in the M2 pore-lining region (L9'A) of the nAChR alpha4 subunit; this mutation renders alpha4-containing receptors hypersensitive to agonists. We recorded respiratory-related rhythmic motor activity from hypoglossal nerve (XIIn) and patch-clamped preBötC inspiratory neurons in an in vitro medullary slice preparation from neonatal mice. Nicotine affected respiratory rhythm at concentrations approximately 100-fold lower in the homozygous L9'A knock-in mice compared with wild-type mice. Bath application of 5 nm nicotine increased the excitability of preBötC inspiratory neurons, increased respiratory frequency, and induced tonic/seizure-like activities in XIIn in L9'A mice, effects similar to those induced by 1 microM nicotine in wild-type mice. In L9'A mice, microinjection of low nanomolar concentrations of nicotine into the preBötC increased respiratory frequency, whereas injection into the ipsilateral hypoglossal (XII) nucleus induced tonic/seizure-like activity. The alpha4*-selective nAChR antagonist dihydro-beta-erythroidine produced opposite effects and blocked the nicotinic responses. These data, showing that nAChRs in the preBötC and XII nucleus in L9'A mice are hypersensitive to nicotine and endogenous ACh, suggest that functional alpha4* nAChRs are present in the preBötC. They mediate cholinergic/nicotinic modulation of the excitability of preBötC inspiratory neurons and of respiratory rhythm. Furthermore, functional alpha4* nAChRs are present in XII nucleus and mediate cholinergic/nicotinic modulation of tonic activity in XIIn.

PubMed ID: 18184794
PMC ID: PMC3477875
Article link: J Neurosci
Grant support: [+]

References [+] :
Aldes, Subcompartmental organization of the ventral (protrusor) compartment in the hypoglossal nucleus of the rat. 1995, Pubmed