Elfie 2021 May 20; 10:e60317
Glutamatergic neurons in the retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) function as respiratory chemoreceptors by regulating breathing in response to tissue CO2/H+. The RTN and greater parafacial region may also function as a chemosensing network composed of CO2/H+-sensitive excitatory and inhibitory synaptic interactions. In the context of disease, we showed that loss of inhibitory neural activity in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome disinhibited RTN chemoreceptors and destabilized breathing (Kuo et al., 2019). Despite this, contributions of parafacial inhibitory neurons to control of breathing are unknown, and synaptic properties of RTN neurons have not been characterized. Here, we show the parafacial region contains a limited diversity of inhibitory neurons including somatostatin (Sst)-, parvalbumin (Pvalb)-, and cholecystokinin (Cck)-expressing neurons. Of these, Sst-expressing interneurons appear uniquely inhibited by CO2/H+. We also show RTN chemoreceptors receive inhibitory input that is withdrawn in a CO2/H+-dependent manner, and chemogenetic suppression of Sst+ parafacial neurons, but not Pvalb+ or Cck+ neurons, increases baseline breathing. These results suggest Sst-expressing parafacial neurons contribute to RTN chemoreception and respiratory activity.
Cleary, Colin M; Milla, Brenda M; Kuo, Fu-Shan; James, Shaun; Flynn, William F; Robson, Paul; and Mulkey, Daniel K, "Somatostatin-expressing parafacial neurons are CO2/H+ sensitive and regulate baseline breathing." (2021). Faculty Research 2021. 100.