Upregulation of GAD65 mRNA in the medulla of the rat model of metabolic syndrome

Buck, B. J.; Kerman, I. A.; Burghardt, P. R.; Koch, L. G.; Britton, S. L.; Akil, H.
Neuroscience Letters. 2007; 419(2):178-183.


Metabolic syndrome is characterized by obesity, elevated blood pressure (BP), insulin resistance, and hypercholesterolemia. Recently an animal model of this disorder has been proposed in rats selectively bred based on their performance on a treadmill-running task. Accordingly, low capacity runner (LCR) rats exhibited all of the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome, including elevated BP, as compared to their high capacity runner (HCR) counterparts [U. Wisløff, S.M. Najjar, O. Ellingsen, P.M. Haram, S. Swoap, Q. Al-Share, M. Fernstrom, K. Rezaei, S.J. Lee, L.G. Koch, S.L. Britton, Cardiovascular risk factors emerge after artificial selection for low aerobic capacity, Science 307 (2005) 418-420]. Previous studies have highlighted the importance of GABAergic neurotransmission in the medullary cardiovascular-regulatory areas in the central control of BP. Thus, we hypothesized a dysregulation in GABAergic transmission in the medullary cardiovascular-regulatory nuclei of LCR rats. To begin testing this hypothesis we carried out experiments examining expression of the GABA synthetic enzymes, GAD65 and GAD67, mRNAs in the two rat strains via radioactive in situ hybridization. Our results showed GAD65 and GAD67 mRNAs were widely expressed throughout the brainstem; quantification revealed increased GAD65 mRNA expression in LCR animals in the caudal nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) and rostral ventrolateral medulla (VLM) as compared to HCR rats. Conversely, no differences in the expression of GAD67 were detected in these regions. These data are consistent with the notion of altered GABAergic neurotransmission in the NTS and VLM in metabolic syndrome, and point to the importance of these regions in cardiovascular regulation.