Cardiovascular responses to hypothalamic arcuate nucleus stimulation in the rat: Role of sympathetic and vagal efferents

Takeshi Nakamura, Suresh Bhatt, Hreday N. Sapru

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22 Scopus citations


Experiments were carried out in urethane-anesthetized, artificially ventilated, adult male Wistar rats. Microinjections (50 nL) of N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (1, 5, and 10 mmol/L), but not artificial cerebrospinal fluid, into the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARCN) elicited increases in mean arterial pressure (5.7±0.5, 13.2±1.4, and 17.3±1.1 mmHg, respectively) and heart rate (24.3±4.3, 49.3±5.2, and 75.2±8.0 bpm, respectively). ARCN stimulation was accomplished by microinjections of a maximally effective concentration of N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (10 mmol/L). The tachycardic responses to the ARCN stimulation were significantly attenuated after bilateral vagotomy. Intrathecal injections of ionotropic glutamate receptor (iGLUR) antagonists completely blocked pressor responses to the ARCN stimulation, whereas the tachycardic responses were significantly attenuated but not abolished. Intrathecal injections of iGLUR antagonists at T9 to T10, combined with bilateral vagotomy, completely blocked the tachycardic responses to ARCN stimulation. ARCN stimulation with N-methyl-d-aspartic acid elicited increased activities of the greater splanchnic nerve (91.7±14.8%) and the renal nerve (109.3±13%). Intrathecal injections of iGLURs at T9 to T10 blocked the increase in the greater splanchnic nerve activity in response to ARCN stimulation. These results indicate the following: (1) the chemical stimulation of the ARCN elicits increases in mean arterial pressure, greater splanchnic nerve and renal nerve activity, and heart rate; (2) the increases in mean arterial pressure and sympathetic nerve activity are mediated via the activation of spinal cord iGLURs; and (3) the increases in heart rate are mediated via the activation of spinal cord iGLURs and decreases in vagal input to the heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1375
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Intrathecal injection
  • Microinjection
  • N-methyl-D-aspartic acid
  • Sympathetic nerve activity


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