Glutamatergic currents play a fundamental role in regulating respiratory motor output, and are partially mediated by α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors throughout the premotor and motor respiratory circuitry. Ampakines are pharmacological compounds that enhance glutamatergic transmission by altering AMPA receptor channel kinetics. Here we examined if ampakines alter the expression of respiratory long term facilitation (LTF), a form of neuroplasticity manifested as a persistent increase in inspiratory activity following brief periods of reduced O2 (intermittent hypoxia, IH). Current synaptic models indicate enhanced effectiveness of glutamatergic synapses after IH, and we hypothesized that ampakine pretreatment would potentiate IH-induced LTF of respiratory activity. Inspiratory bursting was recorded from the hypoglossal nerve of anesthetized, and mechanically ventilated mice. During baseline (BL) recording conditions, burst amplitude was stable for at least 90-min (98 ± 5 %BL). Exposure to IH (3x1 min, 15%O2) resulted in a sustained increase in burst amplitude (218 ± 44 %BL at 90 min following final bout of hypoxia). Mice given an intraperitoneal (IP) injection of ampakine CX717 (15 mg/kg) 10 min prior to IH showed enhanced LTF (500 ± 110 %BL at 90 min). Post-hoc analyses indicated that CX717 potentiated LTF only when initial baseline burst amplitude was low. We conclude that under appropriate conditions, ampakine pretreatment can potentiate IH-induced respiratory LTF. These data suggest that ampakines may have therapeutic value in the context of hypoxia-based neurorehabilitation strategies, particularly in disorders with blunted respiratory motor output such as spinal cord injury.
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Neurophysiology