Role of the median preoptic nucleus in arterial pressure regulation and sodium and water homeostasis during high dietary salt intake

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Changes in the osmolality and level of angiotensin II (ANG II) are important peripheral signals modulating appropriate central sympathetic output and maintaining normal arterial pressure during high salt intake. The median preoptic nucleus (MnPO) receives reciprocal inputs from the subfornical organ (SFO) and organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT), the circumventricular organs that have been shown to be necessary in multiple central effects of changes in the osmolality and circulating ANG II directed toward the maintenance of sodium and water homeostasis. We, therefore, hypothesized that the MnPO is a crucial part of the central neuronal mechanisms mediating the blood pressure control by altered osmolality and/or ANG II signaling during chronic high dietary salt intake. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to either sham (operation) or electrolytic lesion of the MnPO. After a 7-day recovery, rats were instrumented with radiotelemetric transducers and aortic flow probes for measurement of the mean arterial pressure (MAP) + heart rate (HR) and cardiac output (CO), respectively. Femoral venous catheters were also implanted to collect blood for the measurements of plasma osmolality and sodium concentration, as well as plasma renin activity. Rats were given another 10 days to recover and then were subjected to a 28-day-long study protocol that included a 7-day control period (1.0% NaCl diet) followed by 14 days of high salt (4.0% NaCl), and a 7-day recovery period (1.0% NaCl). The data showed, that despite a slight increase in the MAP observed in both MnPO-(n = 12) and sham-lesioned (n = 8) rats during the high-salt period, there were no significant differences between the MAP, HR, and CO in the two groups throughout the study protocol. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the MnPO is necessary to maintain the normal blood pressure during high dietary salt intake. However, MnPO-lesioned rats showed less sodium balance than sham-lesioned rats during the first 4 days of high salt intake. Although these results may be explained partly by the plasma hyperosmolarity and hypernatremia observed in MnPO-lesioned rats, they also shed light on the role of the MnPO in central neuronal control of renal sodium handling during chronic high dietary salt intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-375
Number of pages13
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Blood pressure control
  • Cardiovascular characteristics
  • High dietary salt intake
  • Medium preoptic nucleus
  • Sodium and water balance
  • Sympathetic nerve activity

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