Cold-induced thermogenesis and inflammation-associated cold-seeking behavior are represented by different dorsomedial hypothalamic sites: a three-dimensional functional topography study in conscious rats
OPEN The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience | 21 Jun 2017
SP Wanner, MC Almeida, YP Shimansky, DL Oliveira, JR Eales, CC Coimbra and AA Romanovsky
In the past, we showed that large electrolytic lesions of the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) promoted hypothermia in cold-exposed restrained rats, but attenuated hypothermia in rats challenged with a high dose of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in a thermogradient apparatus. The goal of this study was to identify the thermoeffector mechanisms and DMH representation of the two phenomena and, hence, understand how the same lesion could produce two opposite effects on body temperature. We found that the permissive effect of large electrolytic DMH lesions on cold-induced hypothermia was due to suppressed thermogenesis. DMH-lesioned rats also could not develop fever autonomically: they did not increase thermogenesis in response to a low, pyrogenic dose of LPS (10 μg/kg, i.v.). In contrast, changes in thermogenesis were uninvolved in the attenuation of the hypothermic response to a high, shock-inducing dose of LPS (5,000 μg/kg, i.v.); this attenuation was due to a blockade of cold-seeking behavior. To compile DMH maps for the autonomic cold defense and for the cold-seeking response to LPS, we studied rats with small thermal lesions in different parts of the DMH. Cold thermogenesis had the highest representation in the dorsal hypothalamic area. Cold seeking was represented by a site at the ventral border of the dorsomedial nucleus. Because LPS causes both fever and hypothermia, we originally thought that the DMH contained a single thermoregulatory site that worked as a fever-hypothermia switch. Instead, we have found two separate sites: one that drives thermogenesis, and the other, previously unknown, that drives inflammation-associated cold seeking.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTCold-seeking behavior is a life-saving response that occurs in severe systemic inflammation. We studied this behavior in rats with lesions in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) challenged with a shock-inducing dose of bacterial endotoxin. We built functional maps of the DMH and found the strongest representation of cold-seeking behavior at the ventral border of the dorsomedial nucleus. We also built maps for cold-induced thermogenesis in unanesthetized rats and found the dorsal hypothalamic area to be its main representation site. Our work identifies the neural substrate of cold-seeking behavior in systemic inflammation and expands the functional topography of the DMH – a structure that modulates autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral responses and is a potential therapeutic target in anxiety and panic disorders.
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