The present study was performed to examine the relation between the gain of the baroreceptor reflex and the pathogenesis of hypertension in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Spontaneously hypertensive or Wistar-Kyoto rats underwent either sinoaortic baroreceptor denervation or sham denervation at 28-35 days of age. Four months later these rats were chronically instrumented for measurements of arterial pressure and heart rate. Sixty-minute computerized measurements of arterial pressure showed no difference between spontaneously hypertensive sham (163±5 mm Hg) and spontaneously hypertensive baroreceptor-denervated (166±5 mm Hg) rats, or Wistar-Kyoto sham (114±3 mm Hg) and Wistar-Kyoto baroreceptor-dener-vated (121±4 mm Hg) rats. The gain of baroreceptor reflex control of heart rate was assessed by measuring maximal heart rate responses to changes in arterial pressure elicited by bolus injection of phenylephrine and nitroprusside (gain=slope of linear regression equation of change in heart rate versus change in arterial pressure). Baroreceptor reflex gain was significantly higher in Wistar-Kyoto sham rats (-2.10 beats/min/mm Hg) than spontaneously hypertensive sham rats (-0.94 beats/min/mm Hg). Baroreceptor denervation significantly decreased baroreceptor reflex gain in both Wistar-Kyoto (-0.26 mm Hg) and spontaneously hypertensive (-0.22 beats/min/mm Hg) groups. Since baroreceptor denervation did not exacerbate the development of hypertension in adult spontaneously hypertensive rats or lead to hypertension in Wistar-Kyoto rats, we conclude that a primary dysfunction in the baroreceptor reflex alone is not responsible for the development of hypertension in this model.
- Neurogenic hypertension
- Spontaneously hypertensive rats
- Sympathetic nervous system