Differential roles of prelimbic and infralimbic cholinergic neurotransmissions in control of cardiovascular responses to restraint stress in rats

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Oliveira, Leandro A. [UNESP]
Carvalho, Ivy I. [UNESP]
Kurokawa, Renata Y. [UNESP]
Duarte, Josiane de O. [UNESP]
Busnardo, Cristiane [UNESP]
Crestani, Carlos C. [UNESP]

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Previous studies showed a prominent role of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), especially the prelimbic (PL) and infralimbic (IL) subregions, in behavioral and physiological responses to stressful stimuli. Nevertheless, the local neurochemical mechanisms involved are not completely understood. In this sense, previous studies identified cholinergic terminals within the mPFC, and stressful stimuli increased local acetylcholine release. Despite these pieces of evidence, the specific role of cholinergic neurotransmission in different subregions of the mPFC controlling the cardiovascular responses to stress has never been systematically evaluated. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the involvement of cholinergic neurotransmission present within PL and IL in cardiovascular responses to an acute session of restraint stress in rats. For this, rats received bilateral microinjection of the choline uptake inhibitor hemicholinium-3 before exposure to restraint stress. The arterial pressure and heart rate (HR) increases and the decrease in tail skin temperature as an indirect measurement of sympathetically-mediated cutaneous vasoconstriction were recorded throughout the restraint stress session. The results showed that the depletion of acetylcholine within the PL caused by local microinjection of hemicholinium-3 decreased the tachycardia to restraint stress, but without affecting the pressor response and the drop in tail skin temperature. Conversely, IL treatment with hemicholinium-3 decreased the restraint-evoked pressor response and the sympathetically-mediated cutaneous vasoconstriction without interfering with the HR response. Taken together, these results indicate functional differences of cholinergic neurotransmission within the PL and IL in control of cardiovascular and autonomic responses to stressful stimuli.



Acetylcholine, Blood pressure, Emotional stress, Heart rate, Prefrontal cortex, Sympathetic activity

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Brain Research Bulletin, v. 181, p. 175-182.