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Malnutrition affects the pressor response to microinjection of L-glutamate into the RVLM of awake rats

Keywords: baroreflex , blood pressure , L-glutamate receptors , heart rate , malnutrition , RVLM

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Abstract:

Post-weaning protein malnutrition is often related to the development of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in humans, as well to changed content of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system under experimental conditions. The rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) is a bulbar region that contains sympathetic premotor neurons; the excitatory amino acid L-glutamate seems to be the main neurotransmitter at this level. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible change in the L-glutamate sensitivity of the RVLM neurons of malnourished animals. Male Fischer rats were divided into two groups: control (n = 15) and malnourished (n = 19). Four days before the experiments, guide cannulas were implanted bilaterally in direction of the RVLM for microinjection of L-glutamate. Twenty-four hours before the experiments, the femoral artery was cannulated for cardiovascular recordings. The results showed that the baseline heart rate increased in malnourished compared to control animals (412.18 ± 16.03 bpm vs. 370.74 ± 9.59 bpm, respectively). Malnourished animals presented a dissimilar concentration-dependent pressor response curve to L-glutamate and an attenuated baroreflex gain. Our results suggest that post-weaning protein restriction affects glutamatergic neurotransmission of the baroreflex at the RVLM level.

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