Effects of Sinoaortic Baroreceptor Denervation on Blood Pressure and PNMT Activity in Medulla Oblongata and Spinal Cord of Normotensive and Genetically Hypertensive Rats

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The effects of sinoaortic denervation on arterial blood pressure and central activity of phenylethanolamine-N-methyl transferase (PNMT, the last enzyme in adrenaline biosynthesis), were compared in normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY), spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR-SP). Denervation of the arterial baroreceptors caused immediate increases in mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) in all three strains which were maximal at 90 min (32 mmHg in WKY, 51 mmHg in SHR and 80 mmHg in SHR-SP). Spinal cord PNMT activity increased above sham-operated levels in WKY at 90 min, but PNMT levels in SHR and SHR-SP, already significantly higher than in WKY, were not altered acutely after sinoaortic denrvation. Over a seven day period after baroreceptor denervation, MAP rose by 15 mmHg in WKY and PNMT activity was about 100% greater in spinal cord and ventral medulla. In the two genetically hypertensive strains sinoaortic denervation failed to produce a further sustained rise in pressure or and PNMT activity in the ventral medulla or spinal cord. We suggest that increased activity of bulbospinal adrenaline neurons contribute to the sustained elevation in pressure seen in intact SHR and SHR-SP, as well as in WKY after denervation of arterial baroreceptors.

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