Role of the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus in cardiovascular regulation

Hreday N. Sapru

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Recently the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (Arc) has been implicated in cardiovascular regulation. Both pressor and depressor responses can be elicited by the chemical stimulation of the Arc. The direction of cardiovascular responses (increase or decrease) elicited from the Arc depends on the baseline blood pressure. The pressor responses are mediated via increase in sympathetic nerve activity and involve activation of the spinal ionotropic glutamate receptors. Arc-stimulation elicits tachycardic responses which are mediated via inhibition of vagal input and excitation of sympathetic input to the heart. The pathways within the brain mediating the pressor and tachycardic responses elicited from the Arc have not been delineated. The depressor responses to the Arc-stimulation are mediated via the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Gamma aminobutyric acid type A receptors, neuropeptide Y1 receptors, and opiate receptors in the PVN mediate the depressor responses elicited from the Arc. Some circulating hormones (e.g., leptin and insulin) may reach the Arc via the leaky blood-brain barrier and elicit their cardiovascular effects. Although the Arc is involved in mediating the cardiovascular responses to intravenously injected angiotensin II and angiotensin-(1-12), these effects may not be due to leakage of these peptides across the blood-brain barrier in the Arc; instead, circulating angiotensins may act on neurons in the SFO and mediate cardiovascular actions via the projections of SFO neurons to the Arc. Cardiovascular responses elicited by acupuncture have been reported to be mediated by direct and indirect projections of the Arc to the RVLM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages13
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • Angiotensin II
  • Angiotensin-(1-12)
  • Blood pressure
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Sympathetic nerve activity


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