Article

Sympatho-adrenal activation by chronic intermittent hypoxia.

Institute for Integrative Physiology and The Center for Systems Biology of Oxygen Sensing, Biological Sciences Division, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Journal of Applied Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.48). 06/2012; 113(8):1304-10. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00444.2012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recurrent apnea with chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) is a major clinical problem in adult humans and infants born preterm. Patients with recurrent apnea exhibit heightened sympathetic activity as well as elevated plasma catecholamine levels, and these phenotypes are effectively recapitulated in rodent models of CIH. This article summarizes findings from studies addressing sympathetic activation in recurrent apnea patients and rodent models of CIH and the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. Available evidence suggests that augmented chemoreflex and attenuated baroreflex contribute to sympathetic activation by CIH. Studies on rodents showed that CIH augments the carotid body response to hypoxia and attenuates the carotid baroreceptor response to increased sinus pressures. Processing of afferent information from chemoreceptors at the central nervous system is also facilitated by CIH. Adult and neonatal rats exposed to CIH exhibit augmented catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla. Adrenal demedullation prevents the elevation of circulating catecholamines in CIH-exposed rodents. Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated signaling is emerging as the major cellular mechanism triggering sympatho-adrenal activation by CIH. Molecular mechanisms underlying increased ROS generation by CIH seem to involve transcriptional dysregulation of genes encoding pro-and antioxidant enzymes by hypoxia-inducible factor-1 and -2, respectively.

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