Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists, widely used to treat type 2 diabetes, reduce blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive patients. Whether this action involves central mechanisms is unknown. We here report that repeated lateral ventricular (LV) injection of GLP-1R agonist, liraglutide, once daily for 15 days counteracted the development of hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). In parallel, it suppressed urinary norepinephrine excretion, and induced c-Fos expressions in the area postrema (AP) and nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) of brainstem including the NTS neurons immunoreactive to dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH). Acute administration of liraglutide into fourth ventricle, the area with easy access to the AP and NTS, transiently decreased BP in SHR and this effect was attenuated after lesion of NTS DBH neurons with anti-DBH conjugated to saporin (anti-DBH-SAP). In anti-DBH-SAP injected SHR, the antihypertensive effect of repeated LV injection of liraglutide for 14 days was also attenuated. These findings demonstrate that the central GLP-1R signaling via NTS DBH neurons counteracts the development of hypertension in SHR, accompanied by attenuated sympathetic nerve activity.
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