Expression of the M3 Muscarinic Receptor on Orexin Neurons that Project to the Rostral Ventrolateral Medulla

Yu Wen E Dai, Yen Hsien Lee, Jennifer Y S Chen, Yen-Kuang Lin, Ling-Ling Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Activation of central cholinergic receptors causes a pressor response in rats, and the hypothalamus is important for this response. Projections from hypothalamic orexin neurons to the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) are involved in sympatho-excitation of the cardiovascular system. A small population of orexin neurons is regulated by cholinergic inputs through M3 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M3R). To elucidate whether the M3R on orexin neurons is involved in cardiosympathetic regulation through the RVLM, we examined the presence of the M3R on retrograde-labeled RVLM-projecting orexin neurons. The retrograde tracer was unilaterally injected into the RVLM. Within the hypothalamus, retrograde-labeled neurons were located predominantly ipsilateral to the injection side. In the anterior hypothalamus (-1.5 to -2.3 mm to the bregma), retrograde-labeled neurons were densely distributed in the paraventricular nuclei and scattered in the retrochiasmatic area. At -2.3 to -3.5 mm from the bregma, labeled neurons were located in the regions where orexin neurons were situated, that is, the tuberal lateral hypothalamic area, perifornical area, and dorsomedial nuclei. Very few retrograde-labeled neurons were observed in the hypothalamus at -3.5 to -4.5 mm from the bregma. About 19.5%±1.6% of RVLM-projecting neurons in the tuberal hypothalamus were orexinergic. The M3R was present on 18.7%±3.0% of RVLM-projecting orexin neurons. Injection of a muscarinic agonist, oxotremorine, in the perifornical area resulted in a pressor response, which was attenuated by a pretreatment of atropine. We conclude that cholinergic inputs to orexin neurons may be involved in cardiosympathetic regulation through the M3R on the orexin neurons that directly project to the RVLM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-668
Number of pages9
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016


  • Hypocretin
  • M3
  • Muscarinic receptor
  • Orexin
  • RVLM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biotechnology


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