Nitric oxide pathway presumably does not contribute to antianxiety and memory retrieval effects of losartan

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Abstract

Nitric oxide (NO) and angiotensin (AT) receptors have demonstrated well-established interactions in various physiological phenomena. AT1 receptors can play a part in stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis; also, angiotensinergic neurotransmission plays a pivotal role in stress-evoked physiological responses. On the basis of the stress-modulating characteristics of NO, AT1, and AT2 receptors, the present study evaluated the roles of NO and AT1 receptors in the attenuation of stress-induced anxiety-like behaviors after administration of losartan, an AT1 antagonist. Male Wistar rats were exposed to the communication stress box, using a novel method to induce physical or emotional stress, and losartan (10 mg/kg), losartan+L-NG-nitroargininemethyl ester (L-NAME), L-NAME (1, 10, and 100 mg/kg), and normal saline-treated groups were compared. Losartan had reduced behavioral changes induced by both types of stressor and enhanced memory retrieval. Anxiety-like behaviors were significantly attenuated by administration of losartan, to a greater extent in the emotional rather than physical stress group. None of the injected dosages of L-NAME reversed the antianxiety and memory retrieval effects of losartan. Our results indicate that losartan probably improves memory retrieval and lessens anxiety-like behaviors through mechanisms other than the NO pathway.

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