Neuronal nucleic acid responses were examined within the rat thalamic ventro-basal nuclear complex (VBC) and nucleus reticularis (NR) following single intraperitoneal injections of the central muscarinic-cholinergic (M2) receptor agonist oxotremorine (0.1, 0.7, or 1.0 mg/kg). After stoichiometric azure B and Feulgen staining of brain sections, scanning-integrating cytophotometry was used to quantify azure B-ribonucleic acid (RNA) content, Feulgen-DNA levels, and changes in the susceptibility of chromatin to Feulgen acid hydrolysis (F-DNA yield) of neurons on an individual basis. Changes in neuronal nucleolar volume were also determined histometrically. Within the VBC, oxotremorine produced marked dose-dependent elevations in neuronal RNA content and nucleolar volume with increased F-DNA yield (chromatin activation) in a proportion of VBC neurons. In contrast, within the NR, oxotremorine elicited reductions in RNA levels, F-DNA yield and nucleolar volume. The data demonstrate that oxotremorine-induced central muscarinic receptor stimulation is associated with metabolic correlates of thalamic VBC neuroexcitation and NR neuron depression. The overall study lends further credence to the hypothesis that muscarinic-cholinergic mechanisms are operative within the mammalian thalamus.
- Central muscarinic stimulation
- Muscarinic receptor agonists
- Quantitative Feulgen-DNA and azure B-RNA cytophotometry
- Thalamic cholinoceptive sites
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology