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Sunday 01 May 2005

Blockade of brain mineralocorticoid receptors or Na+ channels prevents sympathetic hyperactivity and improves cardiac function in rats post-MI.

By: Huang BS, Leenen FH.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2005 May;288(5):H2491-7

In rats post-myocardial infarction (MI), sympathetic hyperactivity can be prevented by blockade of brain mineralocorticoid receptors (MR). Stimulatory responses to central infusion of aldosterone can be blocked by benzamil and therefore appear to be mediated via Na+ channels, presumably epithelial Na+ channels (ENaC), in the brain. To evaluate this concept of endogenous mineralocorticoids in Wistar rats post-MI, we examined effects of blockade of MR and Na+ channels in the brain. At 3 days after coronary artery ligation, intracerebroventricular infusions were started with spironolactone (400 or its vehicle, or with benzamil (4 or its vehicle, using osmotic minipumps. Rats with sham ligation served as control. After 4 wk, in conscious rats, mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and renal sympathetic nerve activity were recorded at rest and in response to air-jet stress, intracerebroventricular injection of the alpha2-adrenoceptor agonist guanabenz, and intravenous infusion of phenylephrine and nitroprusside for baroreflex function. MI size was similar among the four groups of rats (approximately 31%). In rats treated post-MI with vehicles, cardiac function was decreased, sympathetic reactivity was enhanced, and baroreflex function was impaired. Blockade of brain Na+ channels or brain MR similarly prevented sympathetic hyperactivity and impairment of baroreflex function and improved cardiac function. These findings suggest that in rats post-MI, increased binding of endogenous agonists to MR increases ENaC activity in the brain and thereby leads to sympathetic hyperactivity and progressive left ventricular dysfunction.

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