Cardiac and renal baroreflex control during stress in conscious renovascular hypertensive rabbits: Effect of rilmenidine

Sandra L Burke, Geoff Albert Head

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OBJECTIVE: We examined whether renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) and heart rate (HR) baroreflexes in conscious rabbits were altered by exposure to a combination of stress and hypertension and determined how this was modified by acute and chronic treatment with the sympathoinhibitory agent rilmenidine. METHODS: Rabbits were made hypertensive with a renal-artery clip and a renal nerve recording electrode was implanted 4-5 weeks later. After recovery, baroreflexes were measured before and during airjet stress and again after receiving rilmenidine (either acutely or by infusion for 3 weeks). RESULTS: Renal clipping increased mean arterial pressure (MAP) and shifted baroreflex RSNA and HR curves rightward. The HR and RSNA upper plateaus were similar to those of normotensive animals but HR baroreflex sensitivity was reduced in the hypertensive group. Airjet stress lowered HR baroreflex sensitivity in sham but not in hypertensive rabbits. By contrast, stress increased the baroreflex-induced maximum RSNA in hypertensive animals but not in normotensive rabbits. MAP variability was greater in the hypertensive group but was unaffected by airjet stress. Acute and chronic rilmenidine lowered MAP to close to normotensive levels, markedly reduced MAP variability and RSNA but did not prevent the RSNA baroreflex facilitation produced by airjet stress. CONCLUSION: Baroreflex control of HR was diminished by either hypertension or acute airjet stress but the effects were not additive. Although the baroreflex-induced RSNA maximum was increased by stress only in hypertensive animals, rilmenidine was effective in minimizing the reflex autonomic disturbances produced by hypertension and stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132 - 141
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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