The European journal of neuroscience

Pressor and tachycardic responses evoked by microinjections of L-glutamate into the medial prefrontal cortex of unanaesthetized rats.

PMID 15932608


The ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC) is involved in central cardiovascular control. In the present study, we studied the cardiovascular effects of injections of L-glutamate into the vMPFC of unanaesthetized rats and the mechanisms of these effects. Male Wistar rats were used and L-glutamate was microinjected in the vMPFC in a final volume of 200 nL. Microinjections of L-glutamate (9, 27, 81, 150 or 300 nmol) caused long-lasting, dose-related pressor and tachycardic responses in unanaesthetized rats. No differences were observed among cardiovascular responses when L-glutamate was injected into the three sub-areas that comprise the vMPFC, namely the prelimbic, the infralimbic and the dorsal peduncular cortices. No responses were observed when the dose of 81 nmol of L-glutamate was microinjected into surrounding structures such as the cingulate cortex area 1, the corpus callosum and the tenia tecta, indicating a predominant action on the vMPFC. The cardiovascular response to L-glutamate into the vMPFC was blocked by intravenous pretreatment with the ganglion blocker pentolinium (10 mg/kg, i.v.) or the beta1-adrenoceptor antagonist atenolol (1.5 mg/kg, i.v.), supporting the involvement of the cardiac sympathetic nervous system in the response to L-glutamate. Pretreatment with the muscarinic antagonist homatropine methyl bromide (1 mg/kg, i.v.) reduced the latency to the onset of the pressor and tachycardic responses to L-glutamate injected into the vMPFC without significant effects on response duration or maximum effect. We conclude that stimulation of the vMPFC with L-glutamate caused pressor and tachycardic responses in unanaesthetized rats, responses which were dependent on cardiac sympathetic nerve activation and were potentiated by blockade of peripheral muscarinic receptors.