TRPV1 (Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1) Cardiac Spinal Afferents Contribute to Hypertension in Spontaneous Hypertensive Rat

Julia Shanks, Sharon D.B. De Morais, Lie Gao, Irving H. Zucker, Han Jun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hypertension is associated with increased sympathetic activity. A component of this sympathoexcitation may be driven by increased signaling from sensory endings from the heart to the autonomic control areas in the brain. This pathway mediates the so-called cardiac sympathetic afferent reflex, which is also activated by coronary ischemia or other nociceptive stimuli in the heart. The cardiac sympathetic afferent reflex has been shown to be enhanced in the heart failure state and in renal hypertension. However, little is known about its role in the development or progression of hypertension or the phenotype of the sensory endings involved. To investigate this, we used the selective afferent neurotoxin, resiniferatoxin (RTX) to chronically abolish the cardiac sympathetic afferent reflex in 2 models of hypertension; the spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHRs) and AngII (angiotensin II) infusion (240 ng/kg per min). Blood pressure (BP) was measured in conscious animals for 2 to 8 weeks post-RTX. Epidural application of RTX to the T1-T4 spinal segments prevented the further BP increase in 8-week-old SHR and lowered BP in 16-week-old SHR. RTX did not affect BP in Wistar-Kyoto normotensive rats nor in AngII-infused rats. Epicardial application of RTX (50 μg/mL) in 4-week-old SHR prevented the BP increase whereas this treatment does not lower BP in 16-week-old SHR. When RTX was administered into the L2-L5 spinal segments of 16-week-old SHR, no change in BP was observed. These findings indicate that signaling via thoracic afferent nerve fibers may contribute to the hypertension phenotype in the SHR but not in the Ang II infusion model of hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)910-920
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • angiotensin
  • blood pressure
  • sensory neurons
  • sympathetic nerve activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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