Activation of afferent renal nerves modulates RVLM-projecting PVN neurons

Bo Xu, Hong Zheng, Xuefei Liu, Kaushik P. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Renal denervation for the treatment of hypertension has proven to be successful; however, the underlying mechanism/s are not entirely clear. To determine if preautonomic neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) respond to afferent renal nerve (ARN) stimulation, extracellular single-unit recording was used to investigate the contribution of the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM)-projecting PVN (PVN-RVLM) neurons to the response elicited during stimulation of ARN. In 109 spontaneously active neurons recorded in the PVN of anesthetizerats, 25 units were antidromically activated from the RVLM. Among these PVN-RVLM neurons, 84% (21/25) were activated by ARN stimulation. The baseline discharge rate was significantly higher in these neurons than those PVN-RVLM neurons not activated by ARN stimulation (16%, 4/25). The responsiveness of these neurons to baroreflex activation induced by phenylephrine and activation of cardiac sympathetic afferent reflex (CSAR) was also examined. Almost all of the PVN neurons that responded to ARN stimulation were sensitive to baroreflex (95%) and CSAR (100%). The discharge characteristics for nonevoked neurons (not activated by RVLM antidromic stimulation) showed that 23% of these PVN neurons responded to ARN stimulation. All the PVN neurons that responded to ARN stimulation were activated by N-methyl-D-aspartate, and these responses were attenuated by the glutamate receptor blocker AP5. These experiments demonstrated that sensory information originating in the kidney is integrated at the level of preautonomic neurons within the PVN, providing a novel mechanistic insight for use of renal denervation in the modulation of sympathetic outflow in disease states such as hypertension and heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1103-H1111
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2015


  • Afferent renal nerves
  • Cardiovascular
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Sympathetic activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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