In prior studies, we found that activation of cannabinoid-1 receptors in the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) prolonged baroreflex-induced sympathoinhibition in rats. In many regions of the central nervous system, activation of cannabinoid-1 receptors presynaptically inhibits γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) release, disinhibiting postsynaptic neurons. To determine if cannabinoid-1 receptor-mediated presynaptic inhibition of GABA release occurs in the NTS, we recorded miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents in anatomically identified second-order baroreceptive NTS neurons in the presence of ionotropic glutamate receptor antagonists and tetrodotoxin. The cannabinoid-1 receptor agonists, WIN 55212-2 (0.3-30 μM) and methanandamide (3 μM) decreased the frequency of miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents in a concentration-dependent manner, an effect that was blocked by the cannabinoid-1 receptor antagonist, N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (AM 251, 5 μM). Importantly, depolarization of second-order baroreceptive neurons decreased the frequency of miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents; an effect which was blocked by the cannabinoid-1 receptor antagonist. The data indicate that depolarization of second-order baroreceptive NTS neurons induces endocannabinoid release from the neurons, leading to activation of presynaptic cannabinoid-1 receptors, inhibition of GABA release and subsequent enhanced baroreflex signaling in the NTS. The data suggest that endocannabinoid signaling in the NTS regulates short-term synaptic plasticity and provide a mechanism for endocannabinoid modulation of central baroreflex control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems