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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.
PMCID: PMC3409315  PMID: 22728949
Intermittent hypoxia; Endothelial function; Angiotensin II
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.
PMCID: PMC2846996  PMID: 20153844
chemoreceptors; angiotensin II; superoxide; angiotensin antagonist; oxidative stress
3.  Role of CuZn superoxide dismutase on carotid body function in heart failure rabbits 
Cardiovascular Research  2008;81(4):678-685.
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.
PMCID: PMC2642603  PMID: 19091790
Superoxide dismutase; Adenoviral vector; Carotid body; Sympathetic nerve activity; Chemoreceptor; Glomus cell; Chronic heart failure
4.  NADPH oxidase-derived superoxide anion mediates angiotensin II-enhanced carotid body chemoreceptor sensitivity in heart failure rabbits 
Cardiovascular research  2007;75(3):546-554.
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.
PMCID: PMC2062532  PMID: 17499230
Angiotensin; Reactive oxygen species; autonomic nervous system; chemoreceptor; heart failure
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.
PMCID: PMC1965591  PMID: 17374517

Results 1-5 (5)