Chronic AT1 Receptor Blockade Alters Aortic Nerve Activity in Hypertension

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Abstract

In the chronic phase of coarctation hypertension (CH) we have shown both reduction in baroreceptor sensitivity (Hypertension. 1992;19[suppl II]:II-198[horizontal bar]II-201.) and normalization of the depressed baroreceptor reflex control of heart rate, even with the persistence of hypertension in losartan-treated animals (Am J Physiol. 1995;269:H812-H818). In the present study we analyzed the effects of angiotensin II blockade on afferent aortic nerve activity of CH and sham-operated groups treated chronically with vehicle or losartan (10 mg/kg per day PO). CH was induced by subdiaphragmatic aortic coarctation, and the treatments lasted 8 days (4 control and 4 experimental days). Aortic pressure (conscious rats) and aortic nerve activity simultaneous to pressure (anesthetized rats) were recorded on the fourth day of the experimental period. Losartan-treated rats showed reduced tail pressure (104 +/- 3 versus 117 +/- 3 mm Hg in the vehicle group). In both groups, aortic coarctation caused a significant increase in pressure (25% and 28%, respectively) and a depression of the aortic nerve activity/pressure relationship when compared with sham-operated coarcted animals. In the physiological range of pressure changes, the depression was significantly smaller after losartan treatment (3.30 +/- 0.33 versus 2.18 +/- 0.37%/mm Hg in the losartan- and vehicle-treated CH groups, respectively, versus 5.05 +/- 0.33%/mm Hg in the sham-operated vehicle-treated group). Angiotensin type 1 (AT1) receptor blockade was also accompanied by reduced variability of the afferent discharge. The data suggested that apart from its pressure effect, angiotensin II acts at AT1 receptors to decrease the sensitivity of aortic afferents during physiological (+/- 10 mm Hg) increases and decreases in pressure. Thus, angiotensin II may contribute to reductions of baroreceptor gain in chronic hypertension. (Hypertension. 1998;31:973-977.)

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