Aldosterone reduces baroreceptor discharge in the dog

W. Wang, J. M. McClain, I. H. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


We have previously demonstrated that baroreceptor discharge sensitivity is depressed in dogs with experimental heart failure and that this depressed sensitivity can be reversed by the Na+,K+-ATPase inhibitor ouabain. This suggests that enhanced Na+,K+-ATPase activity in baroreceptors is responsible for the blunted baroreceptor discharge sensitivity seen in heart failure state. Because aldosterone, a known stimulator of Na+,K+-ATPase, is elevated in heart failure the present study was undertaken to determine the effects on baroreceptor discharge of perfusion of the carotid sinus with aldosterone in normotensive dogs. Single unit baroreceptor activity was recorded as well as carotid sinus pressure and the diameter of the carotid sinus. Perfusion of the carotid sinus with aldosterone (in Krebs-Henseleit solution) significantly elevated threshold pressure (108.5±3.1 mm Hg versus 92.7±4.6 mm Hg, p<0.05) and reduced peak discharge rate (40.3±3.9 spikes/sec versus 47.9±3.6 spikes/sec, p<0.05). These effects appeared 15 minutes after aldosterone perfusion and remained constant for the next 60 minutes. There was no change in the carotid sinus pressure-diameter curve during perfusion with aldosterone. Perfusion of the carotid sinus with ouabain (0.1 μg/ml) during aldosterone perfusion did not reverse the blunted baroreceptor discharge. The blunted baroreceptor activity induced by perfusion of the carotid sinus with aldosterone was prevented by removal of the endothelial cells in the carotid sinus area with a balloon-tipped catheter or by perfusion with saponin. Finally, perfusion of the carotid sinus with spironolactone (10 ng/ml), a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, prevented the inhibitory effect of aldosterone. These data suggest that aldosterone reduces maximum baroreceptor discharge. The mechanism for this effect does not appear to involve Na+,K+-ATPase. It is, however, related to some aspect of carotid sinus endothelial cell function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992


  • Aldosterone
  • Baroreceptors
  • Carotid sinus
  • Dog studies
  • Endothelium
  • Ouabain
  • Saponins
  • Sodium-potassium ATPase
  • Spironolactone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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