Differential Expression of Ion Channels in Adult and Neonatal Rat Ventral Respiratory Column uri icon


  • © 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. In mammals, the neural control of breathing is attributed to circuits distributed along the ventral respiratory column (VRC) in the ventrolateral medulla. The VRC contains the kernel for generation of the inspiratory phase of respiratory rhythm and nuclei involved in central chemoreception. During development, the respiratory rhythm, as well as central chemosensitivity, adjusts to meet the changing physiological requirements associated with increased body weight and size. Gene expression in VRC ontogeny is well characterized. However, little is known about gene expression in the VRC during postnatal development. Here, we sought to characterize the changes in gene expression that occur in the VRC of the adult rat (5¿6 months of age) in comparison with the VRC of neonate rat (1¿4 days old). We isolated total RNA from VRC tissue punches collected from thick transversal slices. We hybridized cDNA to a 5000-oligonucleotide rat microarray. We found that 218 genes (4.4%) of the 5000 genes in the microarray changed their expression in adult VRC with respect to that from neonate. To further analyze the modified expression of specific genes, we quantified the differential expression of 84 genes of neuronal ion channels using a quantitative RT-PCR array. This analysis confirmed the overexpression of 68 genes and the underexpression of 14 genes in the VRC from adult compared with that from neonate. Our findings may help to explain the functional changes in respiratory rhythm and chemosensitivity occurring throughout life.

Publication date

  • January 1, 2018