Neurogenic hypertension and elevated vertebrobasilar arterial resistance: is there a causative link?

Torbay Hospital, Lawes Bridge, Torquay, TQ2 7AA, UK.
Current Hypertension Reports (Impact Factor: 3.9). 05/2012; 14(3):261-9. DOI: 10.1007/s11906-012-0267-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There is evidence of sympathetic overdrive in a significant proportion of patients with essential hypertension and an animal model of the condition, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR). The reasons for this remain elusive. However, there is also evidence of narrowing of the arteries supplying the brainstem in the SHR and hypertensive humans. In this review, we discuss the possible role of brainstem hypoperfusion in driving increased sympathetic activity and hypertension.

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    ABSTRACT: Systemic arterial hypertension has been previously suggested to develop as a compensatory condition when central nervous perfusion/oxygenation is compromised. Principal sympathoexcitatory C1 neurons of the rostral ventrolateral medulla oblongata (whose activation increases sympathetic drive and the arterial blood pressure) are highly sensitive to hypoxia, but the mechanisms of this O2 sensitivity remain unknown. Here, we investigated potential mechanisms linking brainstem hypoxia and high systemic arterial blood pressure in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Brainstem parenchymal PO2 in the spontaneously hypertensive rat was found to be ≈15 mm Hg lower than in the normotensive Wistar rat at the same level of arterial oxygenation and systemic arterial blood pressure. Hypoxia-induced activation of rostral ventrolateral medulla oblongata neurons was suppressed in the presence of either an ATP receptor antagonist MRS2179 or a glycogenolysis inhibitor 1,4-dideoxy-1,4-imino-d-arabinitol, suggesting that sensitivity of these neurons to low PO2 is mediated by actions of extracellular ATP and lactate. Brainstem hypoxia triggers release of lactate and ATP which produce excitation of C1 neurons in vitro and increases sympathetic nerve activity and arterial blood pressure in vivo. Facilitated breakdown of extracellular ATP in the rostral ventrolateral medulla oblongata by virally-driven overexpression of a potent ectonucleotidase transmembrane prostatic acid phosphatase results in a significant reduction in the arterial blood pressure in the spontaneously hypertensive rats (but not in normotensive animals). These results suggest that in the spontaneously hypertensive rat, lower PO2 of brainstem parenchyma may be associated with higher levels of ambient ATP and l-lactate within the presympathetic circuits, leading to increased central sympathetic drive and concomitant sustained increases in systemic arterial blood pressure. © 2015 The Authors.
    Hypertension 02/2013; 65(4). DOI:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04683 · 7.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Angiotensin II-mediated vascular brain inflammation emerged as a novel pathophysiological mechanism in neurogenic hypertension. However, the precise underlying mechanisms and functional consequences in relation to blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity and central angiotensin II actions mediating neurohumoral activation in hypertension are poorly understood. Here, we aimed to determine whether BBB permeability within critical hypothalamic and brain stem regions involved in neurohumoral regulation was altered during hypertension. Using digital imaging quantification after intravascularly injected fluorescent dyes and immunohistochemistry, we found increased BBB permeability, along with altered key BBB protein constituents, in spontaneously hypertensive rats within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, the nucleus of the solitary tract, and the rostral ventrolateral medulla, all critical brain regions known to contribute to neurohumoral activation during hypertension. BBB disruption, including increased permeability and downregulation of constituent proteins, was prevented in spontaneously hypertensive rats treated with the AT1 receptor antagonist losartan, but not with hydralazine, a direct vasodilator. Importantly, we found circulating angiotensin II to extravasate into these brain regions, colocalizing with neurons and microglial cells. Taken together, our studies reveal a novel angiotensin II-mediated feed-forward mechanism during hypertension, by which circulating angiotensin II evokes increased BBB permeability, facilitating in turn its access to critical brain regions known to participate in blood pressure regulation.
    Hypertension 12/2013; 63(3). DOI:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01743 · 7.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroinflammation has been implicated in hypertension, and microglia have been proposed to play an important role in the progression of this disease. Here, we have studied whether microglia are activated within cardiovascular regulatory area(s) of the brain during hypertension, especially in high blood pressure that is associated with chronic activation of the renin-angiotensin-system. In addition, we determined whether prorenin, an essential component of the renin-angiotensin-system, exerts direct pro-inflammatory effects on these microglia. Our data indicate that two rodent models which display neurogenic hypertension and over activation of the renin-angiotensin-system in the brain (sRA mice and spontaneously hypertensive rats) exhibit microglial activation, and increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, an area crucial for regulation of sympathetic outflow. Further, the renin-angiotensin-system component prorenin elicits direct activation of hypothalamic microglia in culture and induction of pro-inflammatory mechanisms in these cells, effects that involve prorenin receptor-induced NFκB activation. In addition, the prorenin-elicited increases in cytokine expression were fully abolished by microglial inhibitor minocycline, and were potentiated by pre-treatment of cells with angiotensin II. Taken together with our previous data which indicate that pro-inflammatory processes in the paraventricular nucleus are involved in the hypertensive action of renin-angiotensin-system, the novel discovery that prorenin exerts direct stimulatory effects on microglial activation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production provides support for the idea that renin-angiotensin-system -induced neurogenic hypertension is not restricted to actions of angiotensin II alone.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e92937. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0092937 · 3.53 Impact Factor