Menuet C - Wlodek ME - Fong AY - Allen AM


Respiratory physiology & neurobiology


Sympathetic nerve activity to the cardiovascular system displays prominent respiratory-related modulation which leads to the generation of rhythmic oscillations in blood pressure called Traube-Hering waves. An amplification of this respiratory modulation of sympathetic activity is observed in hypertension of both genetic, the spontaneously hypertensive rat, and induced, chronic intermittent hypoxia or maternal protein restriction during gestation, origin. Male offspring of mothers with uteroplacental insufficiency, induced by bilateral uterine vessel ligation at 18 days of gestation, are also hypertensive in adulthood. In this study we examined whether these male offspring display altered respiratory modulation of sympathetic activity at pre-hypertensive ages compared to controls. Respiratory, cardiovascular and sympathetic parameters were examined using the working heart-brainstem preparation in 35 day old male rats that had reduced birth weight due to uteroplacental insufficiency. Whilst all respiratory parameters were not different between groups, we observed an enhanced respiratory-related burst of thoracic sympathetic nerve activity and amplified Traube-Hering waves in the growth-restricted group. This group also showed an increased sympathetic and bradycardic response to activation of peripheral chemoreceptors. The observations add support to the view that altered respiratory modulation of sympathetic activity represents a common mechanism involved in the development of several forms of hypertension.

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