Chronic kidney disease impairs renal nerve and haemodynamic reflex responses to vagal afferent input through a central mechanism

Ibrahim M. Salman*, Cara M. Hildreth, Jacqueline K. Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated age- and sex-related changes in reflex renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) and haemodynamic responses to vagal afferent stimulation in a rodent model of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Using anaesthetised juvenile (7–8 weeks) and adult (12–13 weeks) Lewis Polycystic Kidney (LPK) and Lewis control rats of either sex (n = 63 total), reflex changes in RSNA, heart rate (HR) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) to vagal afferent stimulation (5-s train, 4.0 V, 2.0-ms pulses, 1–16 Hz) were measured. In all groups, stimulation of the vagal afferents below 16 Hz produced frequency-dependent reductions in RSNA, HR and MAP, while a 16 Hz stimulus produced an initial sympathoinhibition followed by sympathoexcitation. In juvenile LPK versus age-matched Lewis, sympathoinhibition was reduced when responses were expressed as % baseline (P < 0.05), but not as microvolts, while bradycardic responses were greater. Reflex depressor responses were greater (P = 0.015) only in juvenile female LPK. In adult LPK, reflex sympathoinhibition (%) was blunted (P < 0.05), and an age-related decline apparent (when expressed as microvolts). Reflex reductions in HR and MAP were only diminished (P < 0.05) in adult female LPK versus age-matched Lewis. Peak reflex sympathoexcitation at 16 Hz did not differ between groups; however, area under the curve values were greater in the LPK versus Lewis (overall, 9 ± 1 versus 19 ± 3 μV s, P < 0.05) irrespective of age, suggestive of enhanced sympathoexcitatory drive in the LPK. Our data demonstrates a progressive deficit in the central processing of vagal afferent input and a differential sex influence on reflex regulation of autonomic function and blood pressure homeostasis in CKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Cardiac vagal outflow
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Hypertension
  • Renal sympathetic nerve activity
  • Vagal afferents


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