The afferent pathway for carotid body chemoreceptor input to the hypothalamic supraoptic nucleus in the rat

Research paper by M. C. Harris, A. V. Ferguson, D. Banks

Indexed on: 01 Jan '84Published on: 01 Jan '84Published in: Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology


The pathway for chemoreceptor input to hypothalamic supraoptic nuclei has been examined in anaesthetised lactating and non-lactating rats.In lactating rats, the increase in intramammary pressure following bilateral carotid occlusion, which is probably mainly due to vasopressin, was abolished by lesions in the septum, but not by lesions in more caudal regions of the hypothalamus.In non-lactating rats, electrophysiological experiments demonstrated that the input from carotid body chemoreceptors to phasically-discharging supraoptic neurones is ipsilateral only. The effects of chemoreceptor stimulation on the neurones can be mimicked by electrical stimulation within the medial preoptic area and anterior hypothalamus in a region medial and rostral to the supraoptic nuclei. Lesions within this region abolish the chemoreceptor input to the supraoptic nuclei, but leave the baroreceptor input intact.It is proposed that chemoreceptor afferents to the supraoptic nuclei pass in the lateral hypothalamus to the region of the septum where they turn medially and descent throught the medial part of the rostral hypothalamus. The results are discussed in terms of the general role of the chemoreceptor reflex and, more specifically, with respect to the possible significance of vasopressin in the control of arterial blood pressure.