Respiratory physiology & neurobiology

Contribution of 5-HT2A receptors on diaphragmatic recovery after chronic cervical spinal cord injury.

PMID 28711602


Unilateral C2 spinal cord hemisection (C2Hx) interrupts bulbospinal respiratory pathways innervating ipsilateral phrenic motoneurons, resulting in cessation of ipsilateral diaphragm motor output. Plasticity within the spinal neural circuitry controlling the diaphragm can induce partial recovery of phrenic bursting which correlates with the time-dependent return of spinal serotonin (5-HT) immunoreactivity in the vicinity of phrenic motoneurons. The 5-HT2A receptor subtype is present on phrenic motoneurons and its expression is up-regulated after cervical spinal cord injury; however the functional role of these receptors following injury has not been clearly defined. The present study evaluated the functional role of 5-HT2A receptors by testing the hypothesis that pharmacologic blockade would attenuate diaphragm activity in rats with chronic cervical spinal cord injury. Bilateral diaphragm electromyography (EMG) was performed in vagal-intact and spontaneously breathing rats before and after intravenous administration of the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist Ketanserin (1mg/kg). Intravenous ketanserin significantly attenuated ipsilateral diaphragm EMG activity in C2Hx animals but had no impact on diaphragm output in uninjured animals. We conclude that 5-HT2A receptor activation contributes to the recovery of ipsilateral phrenic motor output after chronic cervical spinal cord injury.