Fatiguing Isometric Contraction of Hind-Limb Muscles Results in the Release of Immunoreactive Neurokinins From Sites in the Rostral Medulla in the Anesthetized Cat

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Antibody-coated microprobes were used to determine whether immunoreactive neurokinins (irNK) were released from sites in the brainstem during fatiguing isometric contractions of the triceps surae muscles in cats anesthetized with α-chloralose. Contractions were generated by stimulating the tibial nerve using a microprocessor-controlled stimulator. Microprobes were inserted into the periaqueductal grey (P 0.5-1.0 mm) or the medullary brainstem (either 3.0 or 3.5 mm rostral to the obex) prior to, during and following fatiguing contractions. No release of irNK was detected from the periaqueductal grey as a result of fatiguing isometric contractions. When probes were inserted 3.0 mm rostal to the obex, a basal release of irNK was detected from the medulla but this was inhibited during isometric contractions from sites corresponding to the lateral tegmental field. When probes were inserted into the more rostal site in the medulla (3.5 mm rostral to the obex), irNK were released in response to contractions from sites corresponding to lateral reticular nucleus, ventral regions of the nucleus tractus solitarius and the medial vestibular nucleus. No irNK were released from this site (3.5 mm rostral to obex) either during passive leg flexing, during nerve stimulation following gallamine injection and muscle paralysis or during stimulation of the central end of the cut tibial nerve. These results demonstrate that neurokinins are released from discrete sites in the medulla in response to fatiguing muscle contractions and suggest that tachykinin neurons may be a component of the pathways regulating blood pressure during ergoreceptor activation.