We investigated whether selective ablation of the carotid body (CB) chemoreceptors improves cardiorespiratory control and survival during heart failure.
Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a recognized health problem worldwide, and novel treatments are needed to better improve life quality and decrease mortality. Enhanced carotid chemoreflex drive from the CB is thought to contribute significantly to autonomic dysfunction, abnormal breathing patterns, and increased mortality in heart failure.
CHF was induced by coronary ligation in rats. Selective CB denervation (CBD) was performed to remove carotid chemoreflex drive in the CHF state (16 weeks post MI). Indices of autonomic and respiratory function were assessed in CB intact and CBD animals. CBD at 2 weeks post-MI was performed to evaluate whether early targeted CB ablation decreases the progression of left ventricular dysfunction, cardiac remodeling and arrhythmic episodes and improves survival.
CHF rats developed increased CB chemoreflex drive and chronic central pre-sympathetic neuronal activation, increased indices of elevated sympathetic outflow, increased breathing variability and apnea incidence, and desensitization of the baroreflex. Selective CB ablation reduced the central pre-sympathetic neuronal activation by 40%, normalized indices of sympathetic outflow and baroreflex sensitivity, and reduced the incidence of apneas in CHF animals from 16.8 ± 1.8 events/h to 8.0 ± 1.4 events/h. Remarkably, when CB ablation was performed early, cardiac remodeling, deterioration of left ventricle ejection fraction, and cardiac arrhythmias were reduced. Most importantly, the rats that underwent early CB ablation exhibited an 85% survival rate compared to 45% survival in CHF rats without the intervention.
Carotid chemoreceptors play a seminal role in the pathogenesis of heart failure and their targeted ablation might be of therapeutic value to reduce cardiorespiratory dysfunction and improve survival during CHF.
heart failure; autonomic function; breathing disorders; mortality; carotid body denervation
Significance: The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an important role in the normal control of cardiovascular and renal function in the healthy state and is a contributing factor in the development and progression of various types of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure. Recent Advances: Evidence suggests that a balance between activation of the ACE/Ang II/AT1 receptor axis and the ACE2/Ang-(1–7)/Mas receptor axis is important for the function of the heart, kidney, and autonomic nervous system control of the circulation in the normal healthy state. An imbalance in these opposing pathways toward the ACE/Ang II/AT1 receptor axis is associated with CVD. The key component of this imbalance with respect to neural control of the circulation is the negative interaction between oxidative and NO• mechanisms, which leads to enhanced sympathetic tone and activation in disease conditions such as hypertension and heart failure. Critical Issues: The key mechanisms that disrupt normal regulation of Ang II and Ang-(1–7) signaling and promote pathogenesis of CVD at all organ levels remain poorly understood. The reciprocal relation between ACE and ACE2 expression and function suggests they are controlled interdependently at pre- and post-translational levels. Insights from neural studies suggest that an interaction between oxidative and nitrosative pathways may be key. Future Directions: The role of redox mechanisms in the control of expression and activity of RAS enzymes and Ang receptors may provide important insight into the function of local tissue RAS in health and disease. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 1121–1132.
Important recent advances implicate a role of the carotid body (CB) chemoreflex in sympathetic and breathing dysregulation in several cardio-respiratory diseases, drawing renewed interest in its potential implications for clinical treatment. Evidence from both chronic heart failure (CHF) patients and animal models indicates that the CB chemoreflex is enhanced in CHF, and contributes to the tonic elevation in sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) and periodic breathing associated with the disease. Although this maladaptive change likely derives from altered function at all levels of the reflex arc, a change in afferent function of the CB is likely to be a main driving force. This review will focus on recent advances in our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms that alter CB function in CHF and their potential translational impact on treatment of chronic heart failure (CHF).
Hypertension; Carotid body chemoreflex; CB; Heart failure; Animal models; Gasotransmitters; Blood flow; CB ablation; Angiotensin
Oscillatory breathing (OB) patterns are observed in pre-term infants, patients with cardio-renal impairment, and in otherwise healthy humans exposed to high altitude. Enhanced carotid body (CB) chemoreflex sensitivity is common to all of these populations and is thought to contribute to these abnormal patterns by destabilizing the respiratory control system. OB patterns in chronic heart failure (CHF) patients are associated with greater levels of tonic and chemoreflex-evoked sympathetic nerve activity (SNA), which is associated with greater morbidity and poor prognosis. Enhanced chemoreflex drive may contribute to tonic elevations in SNA by strengthening the relationship between respiratory and sympathetic neural outflow. Elimination of CB afferents in experimental models of CHF has been shown to reduce OB, respiratory-sympathetic coupling, and renal SNA, and to improve autonomic balance in the heart. The CB chemoreceptors may play an important role in progression of CHF by contributing to respiratory instability and OB, which in turn further exacerbates tonic and chemoreflex-evoked increases in SNA to the heart and kidney.
carotid body chemoreceptors; Cheyne–Stokes respiration; sympathetic nervous system; heart failure; cardiorenal syndrome
The peripheral arterial chemoreflex, arising primarily from the carotid body in most species, plays an important role in the control of breathing and in autonomic control of cardiovascular function. The peripheral chemoreflex is enhanced in heart failure patients and animal models of heart failure and contributes to the sympathetic hyperactivity and breathing instability that exacerbates the progression of the disease. Studies in animal models have shown that carotid body chemoreceptor activity is enhanced under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions in heart failure due to disruption of local mediators that control carotid body function. This brief review highlights evidence that the alterations in the gasotransmitters, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide in the carotid body contribute to the exaggerated carotid body function observed in heart failure.
Exercise training (ExT) normalizes the increased sympathetic outflow in heart failure (HF), but the mechanisms are not known. We hypothesized ExT would normalize the augmented glutamatergic mechanisms mediated by NMDA receptors within the PVN that occurs with HF. Four groups of rats were used: 1) Sham Sedentary (Sed); 2) Sham ExT; 3) HF Sed; and 4) HF ExT. HF was induced by left coronary artery ligation, and ExT consisted of three weeks of treadmill running. In α-chloralose-urethane-anesthetized rats, the increase in renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) in response to the highest dose of NMDA (200 pmol) injected into the PVN in the HF Sed group was approximately twice that of the Sham Sed group. In the HF ExT group the response was not different from the Sham Sed or Sham ExT groups. Relative NMDA receptor subunit NR1 mRNA expression was 63% higher in the HF Sed group compared to the Sham Sed group, but in the HF ExT group was not different from the Sham Sed or Sham ExT groups. NR1 receptor subunit protein expression was increased 87% in the HF Sed group compared to the Sham Sed group but in the HF ExT group was not significantly different from the Sham Sed or Sham ExT groups. Thus, one mechanism by which ExT alleviates elevated sympathetic outflow in HF may be through normalization of glutamatergic mechanisms within the PVN.
paraventricular nucleus; heart failure; NMDA receptors; exercise training; sympathetic nerve activity
The carotid body (CB) plays an important role in the control of breathing and in autonomic control of cardiovascular function. CB chemoreceptor activity is enhanced in chronic heat failure (CHF) and contributes to the sympathetic hyperactivity that exacerbates the progression of the disease. Studies in the past few years have revealed that a local angiotensin (Ang) system exists in the CB and plays an important role in altering CB function in CHF as well as other conditions, such as chronic hypoxia. This brief review highlights recent revelations that Ang I metabolites exert effects within the CB, and focuses on the influence of Ang II and Ang-(1–7) on CB function in CHF.
Carotid Body; Angiotensin; Heart Failure
Angiotensin II (AngII) is the main effector peptide of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), and contributes to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease by exerting its effects on an array of different cell types, including central neurons. AngII intra-neuronal signaling is mediated, at least in part, by reactive oxygen species, particularly superoxide (O2•−). Recently, it has been discovered that mitochondria are a major subcellular source of AngII-induced O2•−. We have previously reported that over-expression of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), a mitochondrial matrix-localized O2•− scavenging enzyme, inhibits AngII intra-neuronal signaling. Interestingly, over-expression of copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), which is believed to be primarily localized to the cytoplasm, similarly inhibits AngII intra-neuronal signaling and provides protection against AngII-mediated neurogenic hypertension. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that CuZnSOD over-expression in central neurons localizes to mitochondria and inhibits AngII intra-neuronal signaling by scavenging mitochondrial O2•−. Using a neuronal cell culture model (CATH.a neurons), we demonstrate that both endogenous and adenovirus-mediated over-expressed CuZnSOD (AdCuZnSOD) are present in mitochondria. Furthermore, we show that over-expression of CuZnSOD attenuates the AngII-mediated increase in mitochondrial O2•− levels and the AngII-induced inhibition of neuronal potassium current. Taken together, these data clearly show that over-expressed CuZnSOD in neurons localizes in mitochondria, scavenges AngII-induced mitochondrial O2•−, and inhibits AngII intra-neuronal signaling.
•Endogenous CuZnSOD is localized to mitochondria of AngII-sensitive neurons.•Adenovirus-mediated over-expressed CuZnSOD is localized to neuron mitochondria.•AngII-induced mitochondrial O2•− flux is attenuated by CuZnSOD over-expression.•Over-expressed CuZnSOD reduces AngII-mediated inhibition of neuronal K+ current.
AngII, angiotensin II; RAS, renin–angiotensin system; MnSOD, manganese superoxide dismutase; CuZnSOD, copper/zinc superoxide dismutase; AT1R, angiotensin type 1 receptor; NOX, NADPH oxidase; MIMS, mitochondrial inter-membrane space; Ikv, neuronal potassium current; ROS, reactive oxygen species; Mitochondria; Angiotensin II; CuZnSOD; Superoxide; Neurons; Potassium current
Chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) raises arterial pressure, impairs vasodilator responsiveness, and increases circulating angiotensin II (Ang II); however, the role of Ang II in CIH-induced vascular dysfunction is unknown. Rats were exposed to CIH or room air (NORM), and a subset of these animals was treated with losartan (Los) during the exposure period. After 28 days, vasodilatory responses to acetylcholine or nitroprusside were measured in isolated gracilis arteries. Superoxide levels and Ang II receptor protein expression were measured in saphenous arteries. After 28 days, arterial pressure was increased and acetylcholine-induced vasodilation was blunted in CIH vs. NORM, and this was prevented by Los. Responses to nitroprusside and superoxide levels did not differ between CIH and NORM. Expression of AT2R was decreased and the AT1R:AT2R ratio was increased in CIH vs. NORM, but this was unaffected by Los. These results indicate that the blood pressure elevation and endothelial dysfunction associated with CIH is dependent, at least in part, on RAS signaling.
Intermittent hypoxia; Endothelial function; Angiotensin II
In this review, we summarize the present state of knowledge of the functional characteristics of the carotid body (CB) chemoreflex with respect to control of sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) in chronic heart failure (CHF). Evidence from both CHF patients and animal models of CHF has clearly established that the CB chemoreflex is enhanced in CHF and contributes to the tonic elevation in SNA. This adaptive change derives from altered function at the level of both the afferent and central nervous system (CNS) pathways of the reflex arc. At the level of the CB, an elevation in basal afferent discharge occurs under normoxic conditions in CHF rabbits, and the discharge responsiveness to hypoxia is enhanced. Outward voltage-gated K+ currents (IK) are suppressed in CB glomus cells from CHF rabbits, and their sensitivity to hypoxic inhibition is enhanced. These changes in IK derive partly from downregulation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) / NO signaling and upregulation of angiotensin II (Ang II) / Ang II receptor (AT1R) signaling in glomus cells. At the level of the CNS, interactions of the enhanced input from CB chemoreceptors with altered input from baroreceptor and cardiac afferent pathways and from central Ang II further enhance sympathetic drive. In addition, impaired function of NO in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus participates in the increased SNA response to CB chemoreceptor activation. These results underscore the principle that multiple mechanisms involving Ang II and NO at the level of both the CB and CNS represent complementary and perhaps redundant adaptive mechanisms to enhance CB chemoreflex function in CHF.
Hypothyroidism can depress breathing and alter dopamine D2 receptor expression and function. We hypothesized that relative to euthyroid hamsters (EH), hypothyroid hamsters (HH) contain increased D2 receptors in brain regions associated with breathing and carotid bodies (CB), and that stimulation of D2 receptors would decease ventilation more in the HH compared to the EH. Hamsters were treated with vehicle, carmoxirile (peripherally acting D2 receptor agonist), or bromocriptine (central and peripherally acting D2 receptor agonist) and breathing was evaluated during exposure to air, hypoxia, and then air. HH exhibited increased D2 receptor protein levels in the striatum and CB’s, but decreased levels in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus. Relative to vehicle, carmoxirole and bromocriptine stimulated ventilation in the HH during and following exposure to hypoxia. Only bromocriptine depressed ventilation in the EH during and after exposure to hypoxia. Thus,, hypothyroidism impacts the expression of D2 receptors in the carotid body, PVN and striatum, and D2 stimulation affects ventilation remarkably differently than in EH.
Hypothyroidism; Dopamine D2 receptors; Hypoxia; Ventilation
Hypothyroidism can lead to depressed breathing. We determined if propylthiouracil (PTU)–induced hypothyroidism in hamsters (HH) altered dopamine D1 receptor expression, D1 receptor-modulated ventilation, and ventilatory chemoreflex activation by hypoxia or hypercapnia. Hypothyroidism was induced by administering 0.04% PTU in drinking water for three months. Ventilation was evaluated following saline or 0.25 mg/kg SCH 23390, a D1 receptor antagonist, while awake hamsters breathed normoxic (21% O2 in N2), hypoxic (10% O2 in N2) and hypercapnic (5% CO2 in O2) air. Relative to euthyroid hamsters (EH), HH exhibited decreased D1 receptor protein levels in carotid bodies, striatum, and hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, but not in the nucleus tractus solitarius. Relative to EH, HH exhibited lower ventilation during exposure to normoxia, hypoxia, or hypercapnia, but comparable ventilatory responsiveness to chemoreflex activation. SCH 23390 decreased ventilation of EH hamsters exposed to normoxia, hypoxia, and hypercapnia. In HH SCH 23390 increased ventilation during baseline normoxia and did not affect ventilation during exposure to hypoxia and hypercapnia, resulting in reduced ventilatory responsivess to chemoreflex activation by hypoxia and hypercapnia. Furthermore, in HH D1 receptor protein levels are decreased in several brain regions and within the carotid bodies. Moreover, D1 receptor-modulation of breathing at rest and during gas exposures were depressed in EH but not HH.
hypothyroidism; carotid body PVN; NTS; hypoxia; hypercapnia; SCH 23390; propylthiouracil
Adenoviral-mediated overexpression of the intracellular superoxide (O2•−) scavenging enzyme copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD) in the brain attenuates central angiotensin II (AngII)-induced cardiovascular responses. However, the therapeutic potential for adenoviral vectors is weakened by toxicity and the inability of adenoviral vectors to target the brain following peripheral administration. Therefore, we developed a non-viral delivery system in which CuZnSOD protein is electrostatically bound to a synthetic poly(ethyleneimine)-poly(ethyleneglycol) (PEI-PEG) polymer to form a polyion complex (CuZnSOD nanozyme). We hypothesized that PEI-PEG polymer increases transport of functional CuZnSOD to neurons, which inhibits AngII intra-neuronal signaling. The AngII-induced increase in O2•−, as measured by dihydroethidium fluorescence and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, was significantly inhibited in CuZnSOD nanozyme-treated neurons compared to free CuZnSOD- and non-treated neurons. CuZnSOD nanozyme also attenuated the AngII-induced inhibition of K+ current in neurons. Intracarotid injection of CuZnSOD nanozyme into rabbits significantly inhibited the pressor response of intracerebroventricular-delivered AngII; however, intracarotid injection of free CuZnSOD or PEI-PEG polymer alone failed to inhibit this response. Importantly, neither the PEI-PEG polymer alone nor the CuZnSOD nanozyme induced neuronal toxicity. These findings indicate that CuZnSOD nanozyme inhibits AngII intra-neuronal signaling in vitro and in vivo.
brain; superoxide dismutase; nanotechnology; drug delivery; copolymer; potassium current
Chronic exposure to intermittent hypoxia (CIH) increases carotid sinus nerve activity in normoxia and in response to acute hypoxia. We hypothesized that CIH augments basal and chemoreflex-stimulated sympathetic outflow through an angiotensin receptor-dependent mechanism. Rats were exposed to CIH for 28 days: a subset was treated with losartan. Then, lumbar sympathetic activity was recorded under anesthesia during 20-second apneas, isocapnic hypoxia, and potassium cyanide. We measured carotid body superoxide production and expression of angiotensin II type-1 receptor, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, and NADPH oxidase. Sympathetic activity was higher in CIH vs. control rats at baseline, during apneas and isocapnic hypoxia, but not cyanide. Carotid body superoxide production and expression of angiotensin II type 1 receptor and gp91phox subunit of NADPH oxidase were elevated in CIH rats, whereas expression of neuronal nitric oxide synthase was reduced. None of these differences were evident in animals treated with losartan. CIH-induced augmentation of chemoreflex sensitivity occurs, at least in part, via the renin-angiotensin system.
chemoreceptors; angiotensin II; superoxide; angiotensin antagonist; oxidative stress
Nitric oxide (NO) functions at all levels of the autonomic nervous system to influence sympathetic and parasympathetic control of cardiovascular function. It modulates the excitability of peripheral sensory and motor neurons of cardiovascular reflexes and of the central neurons that integrate their function. Its effects within this system are diverse and site specific, and at many levels, not well defined. Overall, however, most evidence suggests that the neuromodulator’s influence acts to restrain sympathetic outflow and facilitate parasympathetic outflow. In chronic heart failure (CHF), these functional effects of NO are impaired or downregulated and contribute to the state of sympathetic over-activation and parasympathetic deactivation characterized by the disease. The cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating NO production and signaling in the autonomic nervous system in the normal and CHF state are summarized and discussed in light of therapeutic implications. This review serves to emphasize important questions of the regulation of NO function in the ANS that remain unresolved.
Peripheral chemoreflex sensitivity is potentiated in both clinical and experimental chronic heart failure (CHF). NADPH oxidase-derived superoxide mediates angiotensin II (Ang II)-enhanced carotid body (CB) chemoreceptor sensitivity in CHF rabbits, and tempol, the superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic, inhibits this Ang II- and CHF-enhanced superoxide anion effect. Here we investigated the role of cytoplasmic SOD [CuZn superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD)] in the CB on chemoreceptor activity and function in CHF rabbits.
Methods and results
CuZnSOD protein expression was decreased in CBs from CHF rabbits vs. sham (P < 0.05). Adenoviral CuZnSOD (Ad CuZnSOD) gene transfer to the CBs increased CuZnSOD protein expression and significantly reduced the baseline renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) and the response of RSNA to hypoxia in the CHF rabbits (P < 0.05). Single-fibre discharge from CB chemoafferents during normoxia (baseline, at ∼100 mmHg PO2) and in response to hypoxia were enhanced in CHF vs. sham rabbits (P < 0.05). Ad CuZnSOD decreased the baseline discharge (7.6 ± 1.3 vs. 12.6 ± 1.7 imp/s at ∼100 mmHg PO2) and the response to hypoxia (22.4 ± 1.6 vs. 32.3 ± 1.2 imp/s at ∼40 mmHg PO2, P < 0.05) in CHF rabbits. Ad CuZnSOD also normalized the blunted outward K+ current (IK) in CB glomus cells from CHF rabbits (369 ± 14 vs. 565 ± 31 pA/pF at +70 mV, P < 0.05). In addition, Ad CuZnSOD reduced the elevation of superoxide level in CBs from CHF rabbits.
Downregulation of CuZnSOD in the CB contributes to the enhanced activity of CB chemoreceptors and chemoreflex function in CHF rabbits.
Superoxide dismutase; Adenoviral vector; Carotid body; Sympathetic nerve activity; Chemoreceptor; Glomus cell; Chronic heart failure
A previous study from this laboratory showed that elevation of endogenous angiotensin II (Ang II) and upregulation of the angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor in the carotid body (CB) are involved in the enhanced peripheral chemoreceptor sensitivity in rabbits with chronic heart failure (CHF). NADPH oxidase-derived superoxide anion mediates the effects of Ang II in many organs. We investigated whether this signaling pathway may mediate the enhanced peripheral chemoreceptor sensitivity induced by Ang II in CHF rabbits.
Methods and results:
By recording single-unit activity from the carotid sinus nerve in isolated preparations, we found that phenylarsine oxide 2 μM (PAO, NADPH oxidase inhibitor) and TEMPOL 1 mM (superoxide dismutase mimetic) significantly decreased not only the Ang II-enhanced CB chemoreceptor responses to different levels of hypoxia in sham rabbits (Δ-12.5 ± 0.8 and Δ-12.8 ± 0.9 imp/s at 40.7 ± 2.3 mm Hg of PO2, and Δ-5.6 ± 0.5 and Δ-5.3 ± 0.4 imp/s at 60.2 ± 3.1 mm Hg of PO2, p<0.05, respectively) but also the CHF-induced elevation of CB chemoreceptor responses to different levels of hypoxia (Δ-13.6 ± 1.1 and Δ-13.7 ± 0.9 imp/s at 40.9 ± 3.1 mm Hg of PO2, and Δ-6.7 ± 1.2 and Δ-6.6 ± 0.8 imp/s at 59.8 ± 3.5 mm Hg of PO2, p<0.05). In addition, mRNA and protein expressions of NADPH oxidase components (gp91phox, p40phox and p47phox) were higher in the CB from CHF rabbits compared to sham rabbits. Furthermore, 100 pM Ang II induced an increase in superoxide production in CB homogenates from sham rabbits, which was similar to that in CB homogenate from CHF rabbits. PAO and Tempol inhibited the Ang II- and CHF-enhanced superoxide anion production.
These results suggest that the enhanced peripheral chemoreceptor sensitivity mediated by Ang II in CHF rabbits occurs via a NADPH oxidase-superoxide signaling pathway.
Angiotensin; Reactive oxygen species; autonomic nervous system; chemoreceptor; heart failure