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Vesicular glutamate transporter 2-immunoreactive afferent nerve terminals in the carotid body of the rat

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The carotid body is a peripheral chemoreceptor that detects decreases in arterial pO2 and subsequently activates the carotid sinus nerve. The hypoxia-evoked activity of the carotid sinus nerve has been suggested to be modulated by glutamate. In the present study, we investigate the immunohistochemical localization of vesicular glutamate transporters in the carotid body of the rat. Vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2) labeling was closely associated with glomus cells immunoreactive to tyrosine hydroxylase but was not in the cytoplasm of these cells. The VGLUT2 immunoreactivity was observed within nerve endings that were immunoreactive to P2X3 and densely localized inside P2X3-immunoreactive axon terminals. These results suggest that VGLUT2 is localized in the afferent nerve terminals of the carotid body. Glutamate may be released from afferent nerve terminals to modulate the chemosensory activity of the carotid body.

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This study was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 25350823.

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Correspondence to Yoshio Yamamoto.

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Yokoyama, T., Nakamuta, N., Kusakabe, T. et al. Vesicular glutamate transporter 2-immunoreactive afferent nerve terminals in the carotid body of the rat. Cell Tissue Res 358, 271–275 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-014-1921-x

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  • Carotid body
  • Afferent nerve
  • Glutamate
  • Vesicular glutamate transporter
  • Immunohistochemistry