Forebrain neurons that project to the gustatory parabrachial nucleus in rat lack glutamic acid decarboxylase

Shalini Saggu, Robert F. Lundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that GABA might mediate the inhibitory influence of centrifugal inputs on taste-evoked responses in the parabrachial nucleus (PBN). Previous studies show that activation of the gustatory cortex (GC), bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), and lateral hypothalamus (LH) inhibits PBN taste responses, GABAergic neurons are present in these forebrain regions, and GABA reduces the input resistance of PBN neurons. The present study investigated the expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase immunoreactivity (GAD_67 ir) in GC, BNST, CeA, and LH neurons that project to the PBN in rats. After anesthesia (50 mg/kg ip Nembutal), injections of the retrograde tracer Fluorogold (FG) were made in the physiologically defined gustatory PBN. Brain tissue containing the above forebrain structures was processed and examined for FG and GAD_67 ir. Similar to previous studies, each forebrain site contained retrogradely labeled neurons. Our results suggest further that the major source of input to the PBN taste region is the CeA (608 total cells) followed by GC (257 cells), LH (106 cells), and BNST (92 cells). This suggests a differential contribution to centrifugal control of PBN taste processing. We further show that despite the presence of GAD_67 neurons in each forebrain area, colocalization was extremely rare, occurring only in 3 out of 1,063 FG-labeled cells. If we assume that the influence of centrifugal input is mediated by direct projections to the gustatory region of the PBN, then GABAergic forebrain neurons apparently are not part of this descending pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R52-R57
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Bed nucleus
  • Cortex
  • GAD
  • Hypothalamus
  • Taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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