Blockade of AT1 receptors in the rostral ventrolateral medulla increases sympathetic activity under hypoxic conditions

Mohammed J. Sheriff, Marco A P Fontes, Suzanne Killinger, Jouji Horiuchi, Roger A L Dampney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The role of ANG type 1 (AT1) receptors in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) in the maintenance of sympathetic vasomotor tone in normotensive animals is unclear. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that AT1 receptors make a significant contribution to the tonic activity of presympathetic neurons in the RVLM of normotensive rats under conditions where the excitatory input to these neurons is enhanced, such as during systemic hypoxia. In urethane-anesthetized rats, microinjections of the AT1 receptor antagonist candesartan in the RVLM during moderate hypoxia unexpectedly resulted in substantial increases in arterial pressure and renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA), whereas under normoxic conditions the same dose resulted in no significant change in arterial pressure and RSNA. Under hypoxic conditions, and after microinjection of the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline in the RVLM, subsequent microinjection of candesartan in the RVLM resulted in a significant decrease in RSNA. In control experiments, bilateral microinjections in the RVLM of the compound [Sar1,Thr8]ANG II (sarthran), which decreases sympathetic vasomotor activity via a mechanism that is independent of AT1 receptors, significantly reduced arterial pressure and RSNA under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. The results indicate that, at least under some conditions, endogenous ANG II has a tonic sympathoinhibitory effect in the RVLM, which is dependent on GABA receptors. We suggest that the net effect of endogenous ANG II in this region depends on the balance of both tonic excitatory and inhibitory actions on presympathetic neurons and that this balance is altered in different physiological or pathophysiological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R733-R740
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiotensin receptors
  • Angiotensin type 1 receptor
  • Arterial pressure
  • Brain stem
  • Chemoreceptor reflex
  • Sympathetic vasomotor tone


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