Molecular profiling of reticular gigantocellularis neurons indicates that eNOS modulates environmentally dependent levels of arousal
Calcium Channels, L-Type
Receptors, Dopamine D1
Neurons of the medullary reticular nucleus gigantocellularis (NGC) and their targets have recently been a focus of research on mechanisms supporting generalized CNS arousal (GA) required for proper cognitive functions. Using the retro-TRAP method, we characterized transcripts enriched in NGC neurons which have projections to the thalamus. The unique expression and activation of the endothelial nitric oxide (eNOS) signaling pathway in these cells and their intimate connections with blood vessels indicate that these neurons exert direct neurovascular coupling. Production of nitric oxide (NO) within eNOS-positive NGC neurons increases after environmental perturbations, indicating a role for eNOS/NO in modulating environmentally appropriate levels of GA. Inhibition of NO production causes dysregulated behavioral arousal after exposure to environmental perturbation. Further, our findings suggest interpretations for associations between psychiatric disorders and mutations in the eNOS locus.