Panic-prone state induced in rats with GABA dysfunction in the dorsomedial hypothalamus is mediated by NMDA receptors

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Rats with chronic inhibition of GABA synthesis and consequently enhanced glutamatergic excitation in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) develop panic-like responses, defined as tachycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, and increased anxiety as measured by a social interaction (SI) test, after intravenous sodium lactate infusions, a phenomenon similar to patients with panic disorder. Therefore, the present studies tested the role of the postsynaptic NMDA and AMPA type glutamatergic receptors in the lactate-induced panic-like responses in these rats. Rats were fit with femoral arterial and venous catheters and Alzet pumps [filled with the GABA synthesis inhibitor L-allylglycine (L-AG; 3.5 nmol/0.5 μl per hour) or its inactive isomer D-AG] into the DMH. After 4-5 d of recovery only those rats with L-AG pumps exhibited panic-like responses to lactate infusions. Using double immunocytochemistry, we found that rats exhibiting panic-like responses (e.g., L-AG plus lactate) had increased c-Fos immunoreactivity in DMH neurons expressing the NMDA receptor 1 (NR1) subunit, but not those expressing the glutamate receptor 2 and 3 subunits of the AMPA receptors. To confirm this pharmacologically, we tested another group of rats implanted with L-AG pumps with intravenous lactate infusions preceded by injections of either NMDA [aminophosphonopentanoic acid (AP-5) or (+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo [a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine maleate (MK-801)] or non-NMDA [CNQX or 4-(8-methyl-9H-1,3-dioxolo[4, 5-h][2,3]benzodazepin-5-yl)-benzenamine dihydrochloride (GYKI52466)] antagonists into the DMH. Injections of NMDA, but not non-NMDA, antagonists into the DMH resulted in dose-dependent blockade of the tachycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, and SI responses after lactate infusions. These results suggest that NMDA, and not non-NMDA, type glutamate receptors regulate lactate-induced panic-like responses in rats with GABA dysfunction in the DMH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7093-7104
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number26
StatePublished - Sep 6 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Circumventricular
  • GABA
  • GAD
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamate decarboxylase
  • Hypotension
  • Hypothalamus
  • Immunoreactivity
  • Lactate
  • Panic
  • Subfornical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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