The gigantocellular depressor area revisited

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4 Scopus citations


1. In studies conducted with Dr Donald Reis we described a functionally distinct region of the rat medullary reticular formation that we called the Gigantocellular Depressor Area (GiDA). The GiDA was defined as a region from which vasodepressor and sympathoinhibitory responses were evoked by nanoinjections of glutamate. We later showed that cells in the GiDA project to autonomic nuclei in the medulla, brainstem, and spinal cord, including the intermediolateral cell column. We also showed that kainic acid lesions of the GiDA induce hypertension and block the baroreceptor reflex evoked by electrical stimulation of the aortic depressor nerve. The present studies describe the effects of muscimol nanoinjections into the GiDA 2. Nanoinjections of muscimol were made in the GiDA of anesthetized rats and changes in arterial pressure, heart rate, and responses to aortic depressor nerve stimulation were measured. 3. Bilateral nanoinjections of muscimol into the GiDA evoke an increase in arterial pressure and lead to fulminating hypertension. Unilateral injections of muscimol into the GiDA block the baroreflex response evoked by electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral aortic depressor nerve, However, these unilateral injections of muscimol into the GiDA evoked profound falls in arterial pressure to nearly spinal levels. In spite of this fall in blood pressure, heart rate also decreased significantly and there was not a compensatory tachycardia, Both the arterial pressure and baroreceptor responses required several hours to recover following the muscimol injections. 4. Although these data are consistent with the proposal that the GiDA is critical for the baroreflex, the opposing effects on blood pressure of unilateral and bilateral injections of muscimol are difficult to reconcile with our current models of central sympathetic regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-490
Number of pages12
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Arterial blood pressure
  • Baroreceptor reflex
  • Gigantocellular reticular formation
  • Muscimol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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