The amygdala, innervated by the noradrenergic locus coeruleus, processes salient environmental events. Alpha-2 adrenoceptor-stimulating drugs (clonidine-like agents) suppress the behavioral and physiological components of the response to salient events. Activation of sympathetic outflow to the cutaneous vascular bed is part of the physiological response to salience-mediated activation of the amygdala. We have determined whether acute systemic and intra-amygdala administration of clonidine, and chronic immunotoxin-mediated destruction of the noradrenergic innervation of the amygdala, impairs salience-related vasoconstrictor episodes in the tail artery of conscious freely-moving Sprague-Dawley rats. After acute i.p. clonidine (10, 50, 100 µg/kg) there was a dose-related decrease in the reduction in tail blood flow elicited by alerting stimuli, an effect prevented by prior administration of the alpha-2 adrenergic blocking drug idazoxan (1 mg/kg i.p. or 75 nmol bilateral intra-amygdala). A dose-related decrease in alerting-induced tail artery vasoconstriction was also observed after bilateral intra-amygdala injection of clonidine (5, 10, 20 nmol in 200 nl), an effect substantially prevented by prior bilateral intra-amygdala injection of idazoxan. Intra-amygdala injection of idazoxan by itself did not alter tail artery vasoconstriction elicited by alerting stimuli. Intra-amygdala injection of saporin coupled to antibodies to dopamine-β-hydroxylase (immunotoxin) destroyed the noradrenergic innervation of the amygdala and the parent noradrenergic neurons in the locus coeruleus. The reduction in tail blood flow elicited by standardized alerting stimuli was substantially reduced in immunotoxin-treated rats. Thus inhibiting the release of noradrenaline within the amygdala reduces activation of the sympathetic outflow to the vascular beds elicited by salient events.
- alpha-2 adrenergic receptor
- cutaneous blood flow
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology