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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, Volume: 33, Issue: 6, Published: 2000
  • Role of sympathetic nervous system and neuropeptides in obesity hypertension

    Hall, J.E.; Brands, M.W.; Hildebrandt, D.A.; Kuo, J.; Fitzgerald, S.

    Abstract in English:

    Obesity is the most common cause of human essential hypertension in most industrialized countries. Although the precise mechanisms of obesity hypertension are not fully understood, considerable evidence suggests that excess renal sodium reabsorption and a hypertensive shift of pressure natriuresis play a major role. Sympathetic activation appears to mediate at least part of the obesity-induced sodium retention and hypertension since adrenergic blockade or renal denervation markedly attenuates these changes. Recent observations suggest that leptin and its multiple interactions with neuropeptides in the hypothalamus may link excess weight gain with increased sympathetic activity. Leptin is produced mainly in adipocytes and is believed to regulate energy balance by acting on the hypothalamus to reduce food intake and to increase energy expenditure via sympathetic activation. Short-term administration of leptin into the cerebral ventricles increases renal sympathetic activity, and long-term leptin infusion at rates that mimic plasma concentrations found in obesity raises arterial pressure and heart rate via adrenergic activation in non-obese rodents. Transgenic mice overexpressing leptin also develop hypertension. Acute studies suggest that the renal sympathetic effects of leptin may depend on interactions with other neurochemical pathways in the hypothalamus, including the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4-R). However, the role of this pathway in mediating the long-term effects of leptin on blood pressure is unclear. Also, it is uncertain whether there is resistance to the chronic renal sympathetic and blood pressure effects of leptin in obese subjects. In addition, leptin also has other cardiovascular and renal actions, such as stimulation of nitric oxide formation and improvement of insulin sensitivity, which may tend to reduce blood pressure in some conditions. Although the role of these mechanisms in human obesity has not been elucidated, this remains a fruitful area for further investigation, especially in view of the current "epidemic" of obesity in most industrialized countries.
  • Angiotensin II-mediated vascular smooth muscle cell growth signaling

    Inagami, T.; Eguchi, S.

    Abstract in English:

    The mechanism by which Ang II stimulates the growth of vascular smooth muscle cells was investigated by measuring the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK 1 and ERK 2. Ca2+ ionophore was found to have effects practically analogous to Ang II. We found that the signaling pathway involves the activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase, activation of the adaptor proteins Shc and Grb2, and the small G-protein Ras. Although the mechanism of AT1- (or Ca2+)-induced activation of EGFR is not yet clear, we have found that calcium-dependent protein kinase CAKß/PYK2 and c-Src are involved in this process. These studies indicate a transactivation mechanism that utilizes EGFR as a bridge between a Gq-coupled receptor and activation of phosphotyrosine generation.
  • Oxytocin is a cardiovascular hormone

    Gutkowska, J.; Jankowski, M.; Mukaddam-Daher, S.; McCann, S.M.

    Abstract in English:

    Oxytocin (OT), a nonapeptide, was the first hormone to have its biological activities established and chemical structure determined. It was believed that OT is released from hypothalamic nerve terminals of the posterior hypophysis into the circulation where it stimulates uterine contractions during parturition, and milk ejection during lactation. However, equivalent concentrations of OT were found in the male hypophysis, and similar stimuli of OT release were determined for both sexes, suggesting other physiological functions. Indeed, recent studies indicate that OT is involved in cognition, tolerance, adaptation and complex sexual and maternal behaviour, as well as in the regulation of cardiovascular functions. It has long been known that OT induces natriuresis and causes a fall in mean arterial pressure, both after acute and chronic treatment, but the mechanism was not clear. The discovery of the natriuretic family shed new light on this matter. Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), a potent natriuretic and vasorelaxant hormone, originally isolated from rat atria, has been found at other sites, including the brain. Blood volume expansion causes ANP release that is believed to be important in the induction of natriuresis and diuresis, which in turn act to reduce the increase in blood volume. Neurohypophysectomy totally abolishes the ANP response to volume expansion. This indicates that one of the major hypophyseal peptides is responsible for ANP release. The role of ANP in OT-induced natriuresis was evaluated, and we hypothesized that the cardio-renal effects of OT are mediated by the release of ANP from the heart. To support this hypothesis, we have demonstrated the presence and synthesis of OT receptors in all heart compartments and the vasculature. The functionality of these receptors has been established by the ability of OT to induce ANP release from perfused heart or atrial slices. Furthermore, we have shown that the heart and large vessels like the aorta and vena cava are sites of OT synthesis. Therefore, locally produced OT may have important regulatory functions within the heart and vascular beds. Such functions may include slowing down of the heart or the regulation of local vascular tone.
  • Effects of exercise training on autonomic and myocardial dysfunction in streptozotocin-diabetic rats

    De Angelis, K.L.D.; Oliveira, A.R.; Dall'Ago, P.; Peixoto, L.R.A.; Gadonski, G.; Lacchini, S.; Fernandes, T.G.; Irigoyen, M.C.

    Abstract in English:

    Several investigators have demonstrated that diabetes is associated with autonomic and myocardial dysfunction. Exercise training is an efficient non-pharmacological treatment for cardiac and metabolic diseases. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of exercise training on hemodynamic and autonomic diabetic dysfunction. After 1 week of diabetes induction (streptozotocin, 50 mg/kg, iv), male Wistar rats (222 ± 5 g, N = 18) were submitted to exercise training for 10 weeks on a treadmill. Arterial pressure signals were obtained and processed with a data acquisition system. Autonomic function and intrinsic heart rate were studied by injecting methylatropine and propranolol. Left ventricular function was assessed in hearts perfused in vitro by the Langendorff technique. Diabetes (D) bradycardia and hypotension (D: 279 ± 9 bpm and 91 ± 4 mmHg vs 315 ± 11 bpm and 111 ± 4 mmHg in controls, C) were attenuated by training (TD: 305 ± 7 bpm and 100 ± 4 mmHg). Vagal tonus was decreased in the diabetic groups and sympathetic tonus was similar in all animals. Intrinsic heart rate was lower in D (284 ± 11 bpm) compared to C and TD (390 ± 8 and 342 ± 14 bpm, respectively). Peak systolic pressure developed at different pressures was similar for all groups, but +dP/dt max was decreased and -dP/dt max was increased in D. In conclusion, exercise training reversed hypotension and bradycardia and improved myocardial function in diabetic rats. These changes represent an adaptive response to the demands of training, supporting a positive role of physical activity in the management of diabetes.
  • The physiological role of AT1 receptors in the ventrolateral medulla

    Tagawa, T.; Fontes, M.A.P.; Potts, P.D.; Allen, A.M.; Dampney, R.A.L.

    Abstract in English:

    Neurons in the rostral and caudal parts of the ventrolateral medulla (VLM) play a pivotal role in the regulation of sympathetic vasomotor activity and blood pressure. Studies in several species, including humans, have shown that these regions contain a high density of AT1 receptors specifically associated with neurons that regulate the sympathetic vasomotor outflow, or the secretion of vasopressin from the hypothalamus. It is well established that specific activation of AT1 receptors by application of exogenous angiotensin II in the rostral and caudal VLM excites sympathoexcitatory and sympathoinhibitory neurons, respectively, but the physiological role of these receptors in the normal synaptic regulation of VLM neurons is not known. In this paper we review studies which have defined the effects of specific activation or blockade of these receptors on cardiovascular function, and discuss what these findings tell us with regard to the physiological role of AT1 receptors in the VLM in the tonic and phasic regulation of sympathetic vasomotor activity and blood pressure.
  • Oxidative stress may explain how hypertension is maintained by normal levels of angiotensin II

    Romero, J.C.; Reckelhoff, J.F.

    Abstract in English:

    It is well known that essential hypertension evolves in most patients with "near normal" levels of plasma renin activity. However, these levels appear to be responsible for the high levels of arterial pressure because they are normalized by the administration of angiotensin II converting inhibitors or angiotensin receptor antagonist. In experimental animals, hypertension can be induced by the continuous intravenous infusion of small doses of angiotensin II that are not sufficient to evoke an immediate pressor response. However, this condition resembles the characteristics of essential hypertension because the high levels of blood pressure exist with normal plasma levels of angiotensin II. It is suggested that small amounts of angiotensin whose plasma levels are inappropriate for the existing size of extracellular volume stimulate oxidative stress which binds nitric oxide forming peroxynitrite. The latter compound oxidizes arachidonic acid producing isoprostaglandin F2a (an isoprostane) which is characterized by a strong antinatriuretic vasoconstrictor renal effect. In this chain of reactions the vasoconstrictor effects derived from oxygen quenching of nitric oxide and increased isoprostane synthesis could explain how hypertension is maintained with normal plasma levels of renin.
  • Stimulatory effect of dexamethasone on angiotensin-converting enzyme in neonatal rat cardiac myocytes

    Barreto-Chaves, M.L.M.; Heimann, A.; Krieger, J.E.

    Abstract in English:

    Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) plays a central role in cardiac remodeling associated with pathological conditions such as myocardial infarction. The existence of different cell types in the heart expressing components of the renin-angiotensin system makes it difficult to evaluate their relative role under physiological and pathological conditions. Since myocytes are the predominant cellular constituent of the heart by mass, in the present study we studied the effects of glucocorticoids on ACE activity using well-defined cultures of neonatal rat cardiac myocytes. Under steady-state conditions, ACE activity was present at very low levels, but after dexamethasone treatment ACE activity increased significantly (100 nmol/l after 24 h) in a time-dependent fashion. These results demonstrate the influence of dexamethasone on ACE activity in rat cardiac myocytes. This is consistent with the idea that ACE activation occurs under stress conditions, such as myocardial infarction, in which glucocorticoid levels may increase approximately 50-fold.
  • Towards understanding the kallikrein-kinin system: insights from measurement of kinin peptides

    Campbell, D.J.

    Abstract in English:

    The kallikrein-kinin system is complex, with several bioactive peptides that are formed in many different compartments. Kinin peptides are implicated in many physiological and pathological processes including the regulation of blood pressure and sodium homeostasis, inflammatory processes, and the cardioprotective effects of preconditioning. We established a methodology for the measurement of individual kinin peptides in order to study the function of the kallikrein-kinin system. The levels of kinin peptides in tissues were higher than in blood, confirming the primary tissue localization of the kallikrein-kinin system. Moreover, the separate measurement of bradykinin and kallidin peptides in man demonstrated the differential regulation of the plasma and tissue kallikrein-kinin systems, respectively. Kinin peptide levels were increased in the heart of rats with myocardial infarction, in tissues of diabetic and spontaneously hypertensive rats, and in urine of patients with interstitial cystitis, suggesting a role for kinin peptides in the pathogenesis of these conditions. By contrast, blood levels of kallidin, but not bradykinin, peptides were suppressed in patients with severe cardiac failure, suggesting that the activity of the tissue kallikrein-kinin system may be suppressed in this condition. Both angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and neutral endopeptidase (NEP) inhibitors increased bradykinin peptide levels. ACE and NEP inhibitors had different effects on kinin peptide levels in blood, urine, and tissues, which may be accounted for by the differential contributions of ACE and NEP to kinin peptide metabolism in the multiple compartments in which kinin peptide generation occurs. Measurement of the levels of individual kinin peptides has given important information about the operation of the kallikrein-kinin system and its role in physiology and disease states.
  • Review of the Y chromosome and hypertension

    Ely, D.; Turner, M.; Milsted, A.

    Abstract in English:

    The Y chromosome from spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) has a locus that raises blood pressure 20-25 mmHg. Associated with the SHR Y chromosome effect is a 4-week earlier pubertal rise of testosterone and dependence upon the androgen receptor for the full blood pressure effect. Several indices of enhanced sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity are also associated with the SHR Y chromosome. Blockade of SNS outflow reduced the blood pressure effect. Salt sensitivity was increased by the Y chromosome as was salt appetite which was SNS dependent. A strong correlation (r = 0.57, P<0.001) was demonstrable between plasma testosterone and angiotensin II. Coronary collagen increased with blood pressure and the presence of the SHR Y chromosome. A promising candidate gene for the Y effect is the Sry locus (testis determining factor), a transcription factor which may also have other functions.
  • Ischemia and fibrosis: the risk mechanisms of hypertensive heart disease

    Frohlich, E.D.

    Abstract in English:

    Mechanisms underlying risk associated with hypertensive heart disease (HHD) and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) are discussed in this report and provide a rationale for understanding this very common and important cause of death from hypertension and its complications. Emphasized are impaired coronary hemodynamics, endothelial dysfunction, and ventricular fibrosis from increased collagen deposition intramurally and perivascularly. Each is exacerbated by aging and, perhaps, also by increased dietary salt intake. These functional and structural changes promote further endothelial dysfunction, altered coronary hemodynamics, and diastolic as well as systolic ventricular contractile function in HHD. The clinical endpoints of HHD include angina pectoris (with or without atherosclerosis of the epicardial coronary arteries), myocardial infarction, cardiac failure, lethal dysrhythmias, and sudden death. The major concept to be derived from these alterations is that not all that is clinically recognized as LVH is true myocytic hypertrophy and structural remodeling. Other major co-morbid changes occur that serve to increase cardiovascular risk including impaired coronary hemodynamics, endothelial dysfunction, and ventricular fibrosis.
  • Regulation of the kinin receptors after induction of myocardial infarction: a mini-review

    Tschöpe, C.; Heringer-Walther, S.; Walther, T.

    Abstract in English:

    It is well known that the responses to vasoactive kinin peptides are mediated through the activation of two receptors termed bradykinin receptor B1 (B1R) and B2 (B2R). The physiologically prominent B2R subtype has certainly been the subject of more intensive efforts in structure-function studies and physiological investigations. However, the B1R activated by a class of kinin metabolites has emerged as an important subject of investigation within the study of the kallikrein-kinin system (KKS). Its inducible character under stress and tissue injury is therefore a field of major interest. Although the KKS has been associated with cardiovascular regulation since its discovery at the beginning of the last century, less is known about the B1R and B2R regulation in cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, myocardial infarction (MI) and their complications. This mini-review will summarize our findings on B1R and B2R regulation after induction of MI using a rat model. We will develop the hypothesis that differences in the expression of these receptors may be associated with a dual pathway of the KKS in the complex mechanisms of myocardial remodeling.
  • Angiotensin-(1-7) potentiates the coronary vasodilatatory effect of bradykinin in the isolated rat heart

    Almeida, A.P.; Frábregas, B.C.; Madureira, M.M.; Santos, R.J.S.; Campagnole-Santos, M.J.; Santos, R.A.S.

    Abstract in English:

    It has been shown that angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) infusion potentiates the bradykinin (BK)-induced hypotensive response in conscious rats. The present study was conducted to identify Ang-(1-7)-BK interactions in the isolated rat heart perfused according to the Langendorff technique. Hearts were excised and perfused through the aortic stump under a constant flow with Krebs-Ringer solution and the changes in perfusion pressure and heart contractile force were recorded. Bolus injections of BK (2.5, 5, 10 and 20 ng) produced a dose-dependent hypotensive effect. Ang-(1-7) added to the perfusion solution (2 ng/ml) did not change the perfusion pressure or the contractile force but doubled the hypotensive effect of the lower doses of BK. The BK-potentiating Ang-(1-7) activity was blocked by pretreatment with indomethacin (5 mg/kg, ip) or L-NAME (30 mg/kg, ip). The Ang-(1-7) antagonist A-779 (50 ng/ml in Krebs-Ringer) completely blocked the effect of Ang-(1-7) on BK-induced vasodilation. These data suggest that the potentiation of the BK-induced vasodilation by Ang-(1-7) can be attributed to the release of nitric oxide and vasodilator prostaglandins through an Ang-(1-7) receptor-mediated mechanism.
  • Somatic gene therapy for hypertension

    Phillips, M.I.

    Abstract in English:

    Gene therapy for hypertension is needed for the next generation of antihypertensive drugs. Current drugs, although effective, have poor compliance, are expensive and short-lasting (hours or one day). Gene therapy offers a way to produce long-lasting antihypertensive effects (weeks, months or years). We are currently using two strategies: a) antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (AS-ODN) and b) antisense DNA delivered in viral vectors to inhibit genes associated with vasoconstrictive properties. It is not necessary to know all the genes involved in hypertension, since many years of experience with drugs show which genes need to be controlled. AS-ODN are short, single-stranded DNA that can be injected in naked form or in liposomes. AS-ODN, targeted to angiotensin type 1 receptors (AT1-R), angiotensinogen (AGT), angiotensin converting enzyme, and ß1-adrenergic receptors effectively reduce hypertension in rat models (SHR, 2K-1C) and cold-induced hypertension. A single dose is effective up to one month when delivered with liposomes. No side effects or toxic effects have been detected, and repeated injections can be given. For the vector, adeno-associated virus (AAV) is used with a construct to include a CMV promoter, antisense DNA to AGT or AT1-R and a reporter gene. Results in SHR demonstrate reduction and slowing of development of hypertension, with a single dose administration. Left ventricular hypertrophy is also reduced by AAV-AGT-AS treatment. Double transgenic mice (human renin plus human AGT) with high angiotensin II causing high blood pressure, treated with AAV-AT1-R-AS, show a normalization of blood pressure for over six months with a single injection of vector. We conclude that ODNs will probably be developed first because they can be treated like drugs for the treatment of hypertension with long-term effects. Viral vector delivery needs more engineering to be certain of its safety, but one day may be used for a very prolonged control of blood pressure.
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