The nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) is the first central nervous system (CNS) site for synaptic contact of the primary afferent fibers from the lungs and airways. The signal processing at these synapses will determine the output of the sensory information from the lungs and airways to all downstream synapses in the reflex pathways. The second-order NTS neurons bring to bear their own intrinsic and synaptic properties to temporally and spatially integrate the sensory information with inputs from local networks, higher brain regions, and circulating mediators, to orchestrate a coherent reflex output. There is growing evidence that NTS neurons share the rich repertoire of forms of plasticity demonstrated throughout the CNS. This review focuses on existing evidence for plasticity in the NTS, potential targets for plasticity in the NTS, and the impact of this plasticity on lung and airway reflexes.
- Brain stem
- Intrinsic excitability
- Synaptic excitability
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation