An aldosterone-related system in the ventrolateral medulla oblongata of spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto rats

Natasha N Kumar, Ann K Goodchild, Qun Li, Paul M Pilowsky

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1. The actions of aldosterone include mediation of vasoconstriction, vascular fibrosis, endothelial dysfunction and sodium retention. These actions can contribute to hypertension. Recent studies implicate an abnormal aldosterone hormonal system in the brain in hypertension. However, the study of central aldosterone actions is still in its infancy, as the exact location and abundance of its components in the brain are uncertain. 2. We aimed to detect components of the aldosterone cascade in the regions of the ventrolateral medulla oblongata (VLM)-containing neurons that regulate blood pressure and to see whether there are quantitative differences in these components between the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) and normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat models. Tissues from four regions of the brainstem, namely, the rostral and caudal ventrolateral medulla (RVLM and CVLM, respectively), rostral pressor area and caudal pressor area, were examined. We measured mRNA expression of aldosterone synthase, mineralocorticoid receptor (MR1), 12-lipoxygenase (12-LO), serum- and glucocorticoidinducible kinase and K-ras in male rats. Gene expression levels were measured using real-time reverse transcriptiona-polymerase chain reaction. 3. We detected all aldosterone components in all regions of the VLM. The K-ras levels were not significantly different in any of the regions. Expression of MR1 mRNA was lower in the RVLM of SHR (n = 5) compared with WKY rats (n = 5; t = 4.590; P = 0.002) and 12-LO mRNA levels were lower in the CVLM in SHR (n = 6) compared with WKY rats (n = 7; P = 0.04). Thus, we have shown for the first time that components of the aldosterone cascade are present in the VLM. Our results suggest that there may be a differential gene expression profile in the brainstem for genetic hypertension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71 - 75
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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