Sympathoexcitation following intermittent hypoxia in rat is mediated by circulating angiotensin II acting at the carotid body and subfornical organ

Seung Jae Kim, Angelina Y. Fong, Paul M. Pilowsky, Stephen B.G. Abbott

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15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Key points: In anaesthetized rats, acute intermittent hypoxia increases sympathetic nerve activity, sympathetic peripheral chemoreflex sensitivity and central sympathetic–respiratory coupling. Renin–angiotensin system inhibition prevents the sympathetic effects of intermittent hypoxia, with intermittent injections of angiotensin II into the systemic circulation replicating these effects. Bilateral carotid body denervation reduces the sympathetic effects of acute intermittent hypoxia and eliminates the increases in chemoreflex sensitivity and sympathetic–respiratory coupling. Pharmacological inhibition of the subfornical organ also reduces the sympathetic effects of acute intermittent hypoxia, although it has no effect on the increases in chemoreflex sensitivity and central sympathetic–respiratory coupling. Combining both interventions eliminates the sympathetic effects of both intermittent hypoxia and angiotensin II. Abstract: Circulating angiotensin II (Ang II) is vital for arterial pressure elevation following intermittent hypoxia in rats, although its importance in the induction of sympathetic changes is unclear. We tested the contribution of the renin–angiotensin system to the effects of acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) in anaesthetized and ventilated rats. There was a 33.7 ± 2.9% increase in sympathetic nerve activity (SNA), while sympathetic chemoreflex sensitivity and central sympathetic–respiratory coupling increased by one-fold following AIH. The sympathetic effects of AIH were prevented by blocking angiotensin type 1 receptors with systemic losartan. Intermittent systemic injections of Ang II (Int.Ang II) elicited similar sympathetic responses to AIH. To identify the neural pathways responsible for the effects of AIH and Int.Ang II, we performed bilateral carotid body denervation, which reduced the increase in SNA by 56% and 45%, respectively. Conversely, pharmacological inhibition of the subfornical organ (SFO), an established target of circulating Ang II, reduced the increase in SNA following AIH and Int.Ang II by 65% and 59%, respectively, although it did not prevent the sensitization of the sympathetic peripheral chemoreflex, nor the increase in central sympathetic–respiratory coupling. Combined carotid body denervation and inhibition of the SFO eliminated the enhancement of SNA following AIH and Int.Ang II. Repeated systemic injections of phenylephrine caused an elevation in SNA similar to AIH, and this effect was prevented by a renin inhibitor, aliskiren. Our findings show that the sympathetic effects of AIH are the result of RAS-mediated activations of the carotid bodies and the SFO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3217-3232
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Volume596
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • angiotensin II
  • carotid body
  • hypoxia
  • renin-angiotensin system
  • sleep apnea
  • subfornical organ
  • sympathetic nervous system

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