Chronic intermittent hypobaric hypoxia protects vascular endothelium by ameliorating autophagy in metabolic syndrome rats

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The study aimed to investigate the protective effect of chronic intermittent hypobaric hypoxia (CIHH) on endothelium function and relaxation of mesenteric artery in metabolism syndrome (MS) rats.

Main methods:

Male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into control (CON), CIHH (treated with 28-days hypobaric hypoxia simulating an altitude of 5000 m, 6 h daily), MS (induced by high fat diet and 10% fructose water feeding), and MS + CIHH groups. Body weight, systolic arterial pressure, blood biochemical and the endothelium dependent relaxation (EDR) of mesenteric arteries were measured. The expression of phosphor-endothelial nitric oxide synthase (p-eNOS), endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-related proteins and autophagy-related proteins in mesenteric arteries was assayed.

Key findings:

The MS rats displayed hypertension, obesity, metabolic abnormity and insulin resistance, EDR was attenuated, p-eNOS expression was down-regulated, the expressions of ER stress-related proteins were up-regulated, and autophagy dysfunction occurred. All aforementioned abnormalities in MS rats were ameliorated in MS + CIHH rats. Furthermore, the improvement of CIHH on EDR and p-eNOS was cancelled by the ER stress inducer, and the autophagy inhibitor.


In conclusion CIHH protects endothelium function and enhances relaxation in mesenteric arteries of MS rats through improving autophagy function, reducing ER stress and up-regulating p-eNOS.

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