[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rasd1 is a member of the Ras family of monomeric G proteins that was first identified as a dexamethasone inducible gene in the pituitary corticotroph cell line AtT20. Using microarrays we previously identified increased Rasd1 mRNA expression in the rat supraoptic nucleus (SON) and paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus in response to increased plasma osmolality provoked by fluid deprivation and salt loading. RASD1 has been shown to inhibit adenylyl cyclase activity in vitro resulting in the inhibition of the cAMP-PKA-CREB signaling pathway. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that RASD1 may inhibit cAMP stimulated gene expression in the brain.
We show that Rasd1 is expressed in vasopressin neurons of the PVN and SON, within which mRNA levels are induced by hyperosmotic cues. Dexamethasone treatment of AtT20 cells decreased forskolin stimulation of c-Fos, Nr4a1 and phosphorylated CREB expression, effects that were mimicked by overexpression of Rasd1, and inhibited by knockdown of Rasd1. These effects were dependent upon isoprenylation, as both farnesyltransferase inhibitor FTI-277 and CAAX box deletion prevented Rasd1 inhibition of cAMP-induced gene expression. Injection of lentiviral vector into rat SON expressing Rasd1 diminished, whereas CAAX mutant increased, cAMP inducible genes in response to osmotic stress.
We have identified two mechanisms of Rasd1 induction in the hypothalamus, one by elevated glucocorticoids in response to stress, and one in response to increased plasma osmolality resulting from osmotic stress. We propose that the abundance of RASD1 in vasopressin expressing neurons, based on its inhibitory actions on CREB phosphorylation, is an important mechanism for controlling the transcriptional responses to stressors in both the PVN and SON. These effects likely occur through modulation of cAMP-PKA-CREB signaling pathway in the brain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an emerging bioelectronics era, there is a clinical need for physiological devices incorporating biofeedback that permits natural and demand-dependent control in real time. Here, we describe a novel device termed a central pattern generator (CPG) that uses cutting edge analogue circuitry producing temporally controlled, electrical stimulus outputs based on the real time integration of physiological feedback. Motivated by the fact that respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), which is the cyclical changes in heart rate every breath, is an essential component of heart rate variability (an indicator of cardiac health), we have explored the versatility and efficiency of the CPG for producing respiratory modulation of heart rate in anaesthetised, spontaneously breathing rats. Diaphragmatic electromyographic activity was used as the input to the device and its output connected to either the right cervical vagus nerve or the right atrium for pacing heart rate. We found that the CPG could induce respiratory related heart rate modulation that closely mimicked RSA. Whether connected to the vagus nerve or right atrium, the versatility of the device was demonstrated by permitting: (i) heart rate modulation in any phase of the respiratory cycle, (ii) control of the magnitude of heart rate modulation and (iii) instant adaptation to changes in respiratory frequency. Vagal nerve pacing was only possible following transection of the nerve limiting its effective use chronically. Pacing via the right atrium permitted better flexibility and control of heart rate above its intrinsic level. This investigation now lays the foundation for future studies using this biofeedback technology permitting closer analysis of both the function and dysfunction of RSA.
No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Frontiers in Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The synthesis of arginine vasopressin (Avp) in the supraoptic nucleus (SON) and paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus is sensitive to increased plasma osmolality and decreased blood volume, and, thus is robustly increased by both dehydration (increased plasma osmolality and decreased blood volume) and salt loading (increased plasma osmolality). Both stimuli result in functional remodelling of the SON and PVN, a process referred to as functional-related plasticity. Such plastic changes in the brain have recently been associated with altered patterns of DNA methylation at CpG residues, a process thought to be important for the regulation of gene transcription. In this regard, the proximal Avp promoter contains a number of CpG sites and is recognised as one of four CpG islands for the Avp gene, suggesting that methylation may be regulating Avp transcription. We show here that, in immortalised hypothalamic cell line 4B, the proximal Avp promoter is highly methylated, and treatment of these cells with DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine, to demethylate DNA, dramatically increases basal and stimulated Avp biosynthesis. We report here no changes in expression of DNA methyltransferases, Dnmt1 and Dnmt3a, but decreased expression of the demethylating enzyme ten-eleven-translocation 2, Tet2, in the SON by dehydration and salt loading. We found higher methylation of the SON Avp promoter in dehydrated but not salt loaded rats. By analysis of individual CpG sites, we observed hypomethylation, hypermethylation and no change in methylation of specific CpGs in the SON Avp promoter of the dehydrated rat. Using reporter gene assays, we show that mutation of individual CpGs can result in altered Avp promoter activity. We propose that methylation of the SON Avp promoter is necessary to co-ordinate the duel inputs of increased plasma osmolality and decreased blood volume on Avp transcription in the chronically dehydrated rat. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Journal of Neuroendocrinology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims:
We sought to determine the prevalence of asymmetric hypertensive heart disease (HHD) overlapping morphologically with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and to determine predictors of this pattern of hypertensive remodelling.
Methods and results:
One hundred and fifty hypertensive patients underwent 1.5 T cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging. Twenty-one patients were excluded due to concomitant cardiac pathology that may confound the hypertrophic response, e.g. myocardial infarction, moderate-severe valvular disease, or other cardiomyopathy. Asymmetric HHD was defined as a segmental wall thickness of ≥15 mm and >1.5-fold the opposing wall in ≥1 myocardial segments, measured from short-axis cine stack at end-diastole. Ambulatory blood pressure, myocardial replacement fibrosis, aortic distensibility and aortoseptal angle were investigated as predictors of asymmetric HHD by multivariate logistic regression. Out of 129 hypertensive subjects (age: 51 ± 15 years, 50% male, systolic blood pressure: 170 ± 30 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure: 97 ± 16 mmHg), asymmetric HHD occurred in 21%. Where present, maximal end-diastolic wall thickness (EDWT) was 17.8 ± 1.9 mm and located exclusively in the basal or mid septum. In asymmetric HHD, aortoseptal angle (114 ± 10° vs. 125 ± 9° vs. 123 ± 12°, P < 0.05, respectively) was significantly reduced compared to concentric left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and compared to no LVH, respectively. Aortic distensibility in asymmetric HHD (1.01 ± 0.60 vs. 1.83 ± 1.65 mm(2)/mmHg × 10(3), P < 0.05, respectively) was significantly reduced compared to subjects with no LVH. Age (odds ratio [95th confidence interval]: 1.10 [1.02-1.18], P < 0.05) and indexed LV mass (1.09 [0.98-1.28], P < 0.0001) were significant, independent predictors of asymmetric HDD.
Asymmetric HHD morphologically overlapping with HCM, according to the current ESC guidelines, is common. Postulating a diagnosis of HCM on the basis of EDWT of ≥15 mm should be made with caution in the presence of arterial hypertension particular in male subjects with elevated LV mass.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · European Heart Journal Cardiovascular Imaging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In response to an osmotic challenge, the synthesis of the antidiuretic hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) increases in the hypothalamus, and this is accompanied by extension of the 3′ poly(A) tail of the AVP mRNA, and the up-regulation of the expression of RNA binding protein Caprin-2. Here we show that Caprin-2 binds to AVP mRNAs, and that lentiviral mediated shRNA knockdown of Caprin-2 in the osmotically stimulated hypothalamus shortens the AVP mRNA poly(A) tail at the same time as reducing transcript abundance. In a recapitulated in vitro system, we confirm that Caprin-2 over-expression enhances AVP mRNA abundance and poly(A) tail length. Importantly, we show that Caprin-2 knockdown in the hypothalamus decreases urine output and fluid intake, and increases urine osmolality, urine sodium concentration, and plasma AVP levels. Thus Caprin-2 controls physiological mechanisms that are essential for the body's response to osmotic stress. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09656.001
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rat Caprin-2 gene. (a) The sequence of full-length rat brain Caprin-2 cDNA. (b) The predicted amino acid sequence of full-length rat brain Caprin-2 protein. (c) Alternatively spliced isoforms of rat brain Caprin-2. (d) Hypothetical functional domains of the rat brain Caprin-2 protein based on alignment to the Xenopus RNG105 protein sequence, a paralogue of the well-analyzed rat Caprin-1 protein, which is highly homologous to Caprin-2. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09656.014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) exhibits respiratory modulation. This component of SNA is important - being recruited under cardiorespiratory reflex conditions and elevated in the spontaneously hypertensive (SH) rat - and yet, the exact influence of this modulation on vascular tone is not understood, even in normotensive conditions. We constructed a mathematical model of the sympathetic innervation of an arteriole, and used it to test the hypothesis that respiratory modulation of SNA preferentially increases vasoconstriction compared to a frequency-matched tonic pattern. Simulations supported the hypothesis, where respiratory modulated increases in vasoconstriction were mediated by a noradrenergic mechanism. These predictions were tested in vivo in adult Wistar rats. Stimulation of the sympathetic chain (L3) with respiratory-modulated bursting patterns, revealed that bursting increases vascular resistance (VR) more than tonic stimulation (57.8 ± 3.3% vs 44.8 ± 4.2%; P < 0.001; n = 8). The onset of the VR response was also quicker for bursting stimulation (rise time-constant = 1.98 ± 0.09 s vs 2.35 ± 0.20 s; P < 0.01). In adult SH rats (n = 8), the VR response to bursting (44.6 ± 3.9%) was not different to tonic (37.4 ± 3.5%; P = 0.57). Using both mathematical modelling and in vivo techniques, we have shown that VR depends critically on respiratory modulation and revealed that this pattern-dependency in Wistar rats is due to a noradrenergic mechanism. This respiratory component may therefore contribute to the ontogenesis of hypertension in the pre-hypertensive SH rat - raising VR and driving vascular remodelling. Why adult SH rats do not exhibit a pattern-dependent response is not known, but further modelling revealed that this may be due to dysfunctional NA reuptake. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · The Journal of Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Central apnoeas and respiratory irregularity are a common feature in Rett syndrome (RTT), a neurodevelopmental disorder most often caused by mutations in the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 gene (MECP2). We used a MECP2 deficient mouse model of RTT as a strategy to obtain insights into the neurobiology of the disease and into mechanisms essential for respiratory rhythmicity during normal breathing. Previously, we showed that, systemic administration of a GABA reuptake blocker in MECP2 deficient mice markedly reduced the occurrence of central apnoeas. Further, we found that, during central apnoeas, post-inspiratory drive (adductor motor) to the upper airways was enhanced in amplitude and duration in Mecp2 heterozygous female mice. Since the pontine Kölliker-Fuse area (KF) drives post-inspiration, suppresses inspiration, and can reset the respiratory oscillator phase, we hypothesized that synaptic inhibition in this area is essential for respiratory rhythm regularity. In this study, we found that: (i) Mecp2 heterozygous mice showed deficiency of GABA perisomatic bouton-like puncta and processes in the KF nucleus; (ii) blockade of GABA reuptake in the KF of RTT mice reduced breathing irregularity; (iii) conversely, blockade of GABAA receptors in the KF of healthy rats mimicked the RTT respiratory phenotype of recurrent central apnoeas and prolonged post-inspiratory activity. Our results show that reductions in synaptic inhibition within the KF induce rhythm irregularity whereas boosting GABA transmission reduces respiratory arrhythmia in a murine model of RTT. Our data suggest that manipulation of synaptic inhibition in KF may be a clinically important strategy for alleviating the life threatening respiratory disorders in RTT.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · The Journal of Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Healthy ageing and alterations in respiratory-sympathetic coupling have been independently linked with heightened sympathetic neural vasoconstrictor activity. We investigated how age influences the respiratory related modulation of muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), and the association between the rhythmic fluctuations in MSNA and blood pressure that occur with respiration (Traube-Hering Waves; THW). Ten young (22 ± 2 years, mean±SD) and ten older (58 ± 6 years) healthy men were studied while resting supine and breathing spontaneously. MSNA, blood pressure and respiration were simultaneously recorded. Resting values were ascertained and respiratory cycle triggered averaging of MSNA and blood pressure measurements performed. MSNA burst incidence was higher in older individuals (22.7 ± 9.2 vs. 42.2 ± 13.7 bursts·100 heartbeats(-1) P<0.05), and was similarly reduced in the inspiratory to post-inspiratory period in young and older subjects (by ∼25% compared to mid-to-late expiration). A similar attenuation of MSNA burst frequency (bursts per minute), amplitude and total activity (burst frequency × mean burst amplitude) was also observed in the inspiratory to post-inspiratory period in both groups. A significant positive correlation between respiratory related MSNA and THW magnitude was observed in all young (100%) and most older (80%) subjects. These data suggest that the strength of the cyclical inhibition of MSNA during respiration is similar between young and older individuals and thus alterations in respiratory-sympathetic coupling appear not to contribute to the age-related elevation in MSNA. Furthermore, central respiratory-sympathetic coupling plays a role in the generation of THW in both healthy young and older humans. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Experimental physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electrocardiograph (ECG) criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) are a widely used clinical tool. We recalibrated six ECG criteria for LVH against gold-standard cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) and assessed the impact of obesity. One hundred and fifty consecutive tertiary hypertension clinic referrals for CMR (1.5 T) were reviewed. Patients with cardiac pathology potentially confounding hypertensive LVH were excluded (n=22). The final sample size was 128 (age: 51.0±15.2 years, 48% male). LVH was defined by CMR. From a 12-lead ECG, Sokolow-Lyon voltage and product, Cornell voltage and product, Gubner-Ungerleidger voltage and Romhilt-Estes score were evaluated, blinded to the CMR. ECG diagnostic performance was calculated. LVH by CMR was present in 37% and obesity in 51%. Obesity significantly reduced ECG sensitivity, because of significant attenuation in mean ECG values for Cornell voltage (22.2±5.7 vs 26.4±9.4 mm, P<0.05), Cornell product (2540±942 vs 3023±1185 mm • ms, P<0.05) and for Gubner-Ungerleider voltage (18.2±7.1 vs 23.3±1.2 mm, P<0.05). Obesity also significantly reduced ECG specificity, because of significantly higher prevalence of LV remodeling (no LVH but increased mass-to-volume ratio) in obese subjects without LVH (36% vs 16%, P<0.05), which correlated with higher mean ECG LVH criteria values. Obesity-specific partition values were generated at fixed 95% specificity; Cornell voltage had highest sensitivity in non-obese (56%) and Sokolow-Lyon product in obese patients (24%). Obesity significantly lowers ECG sensitivity at detecting LVH, by attenuating ECG LVH values, and lowers ECG specificity through changes associated with LV remodeling. Our obesity-specific ECG partition values could improve the diagnostic performance in obese patients with hypertension.Journal of Human Hypertension advance online publication, 4 June 2015; doi:10.1038/jhh.2015.58.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of human hypertension