Lateral parabrachial nucleus serotonergic mechanisms and salt appetite induced by sodium depletion
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This study investigated the effects of bilateral injections of a serotonin (5-HT) receptor agonist into the lateral parabrachial nucleus (LPBN) on the intake of NaCl and water induced by 24-h water deprivation or by sodium depletion followed by 24 h of sodium deprivation (injection of the diuretic furosemide plus 24 h of sodium-deficient diet). Rats had stainless steel cannulas implanted bilaterally into the LPBN. Bilateral LPBN injections of the serotonergic 5-HT1/2 receptor antagonist methysergide (4 mu g/200 nl at each site) increased hypertonic NaCl intake when tested 24 h after sodium depletion and after 24 h of water deprivation. Water intake also increased after bilateral injections of methysergide into the LPBN. In contrast, the intake of a palatable solution (0.06 M sucrose) under body fluid-replete conditions was not changed after bilateral LPBN methysergide injections. The results show that serotonergic mechanisms in the LPBN modulate water and sodium intake induced by volume depletion and sodium loss. The finding that sucrose intake was not affected by LPBN serotonergic blockade suggests that the effects of the methysergide treatment on the intakes of water and NaCl are not due to a mechanism producing a nonspecific enhancement of all ingestive behaviors.