Norepinephrine effects on identified neurons of the rat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus

Isabel Martinez-Peña Y Valenzuela, Richard C. Rogers, Gerlinda E. Hermann, R. Alberto Travagli

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39 Scopus citations


The dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) receives more noradrenergic terminals than any other medullary nucleus; few studies, however, have examined the effects of norepinephrine (NE) on DMV neurons. Using whole cell recordings in thin slices, we determined the effects of NE on identified gastric-projecting DMV neurons. Twenty-five percent of DMV neurons were unresponsive to NE, whereas the remaining 75% responded to NE with either an excitation (49%), an inhibition (26%), or an inhibition followed by an excitation (4%). Antrum/pylorus- and corpus-projecting neurons responded to NE with a similar percentage of excitatory (49 and 59%, respectively) and inhibitory (20% for both groups) responses. A lower percentage of excitatory (37%) and a higher percentage of inhibitory (36%) responses were, however, observed in fundus-projecting neurons. In all groups, pretreatment with prazosin or phenylephrine antagonized or mimicked the NE-induced excitation, respectively. Pretreatment with yohimbine or UK-14304 antagonized or mimicked the NE-induced inhibition, respectively. These data suggest that NE depolarization is mediated by α1-adrenoceptors, whereas NE hyperpolarization is mediated by α1-adrenoceptors. In 16 neurons depolarized by NE, amplitude of the action potential afterhyperpolarization (AHP) and its kinetics of decay (τ) were significantly reduced vs. control. No differences were found on the amplitude and τ of AHP in neurons hyperpolarized by NE. Using immunohistochemical techniques, we found that the distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase fibers within the DMV was significantly different within the mediolateral extent of DMV; however, distribution of cells responding to NE did not show a specific pattern of localization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G333-G339
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2 49-2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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