The maintenance of cardiovascular homeostasis is highly dependent on tightly controlled interactions between the heart and the kidneys. Therefore, it is not surprising that a dysfunction in one organ affects the other. This interlinking relationship is aptly demonstrated in the cardiorenal syndrome. The characteristics of the cardiorenal syndrome state include alterations in neurohumoral drive, autonomic reflexes, and fluid balance. The evidence suggests that several factors contribute to these alterations. These may include peripheral and central nervous system abnormalities. However, accumulating evidence from animals with experimental models of congestive heart failure and renal dysfunction as well as humans with the cardiorenal syndrome suggests that alterations in neural pathways, from and to the kidneys and the heart, including the central nervous system are involved in regulating sympathetic outflow and may be critically important in the alterations in neurohumoral drive, autonomic reflexes, and fluid balance commonly observed in the cardiorenal syndrome. This review focuses on studies implicating neural pathways, particularly the afferent and efferent signals from the heart and the kidneys integrating at the level of the paraventricular nucleus in the hypothalamus to alter neurohumoral drive, autonomic pathways, and fluid balance. Further, it explores the potential mechanisms of action for the known beneficial use of various medications or potential novel therapeutic manipulations for the treatment of the cardiorenal syndrome. A comprehensive understanding of these mechanisms will enhance our ability to treat cardiorenal conditions and their cardiovascular complications more efficaciously and thoroughly.
- heart failure
- paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine