Increased sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity plays a role in the genesis of hypertension in rats with chronic renal failure (CRF). Because nitric oxide (NO) modulates the activity of the SNS, a deficit of NO synthesis could be responsible for the increased SNS activity in these animals. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of L-arginine and L-NAME on blood pressure and SNS activity-in Sprague Dawley 5/6 nephrectomized or sham-operated rats. SNS activity was determined by measuring norepinephrine turnover rate in several brain nuclei involved in the regulation of blood pressure. In the same brain nuclei, we measured NO content and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) gene expression by semiquantitative measurements of NOS mRNA reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In CRF rats, norepinephrine turnover rate was increased in the posterior hypothalamic nuclei, locus coeruleus, paraventricular nuclei, and the rostral ventral medulla, whereas NOS mRNA gene expression and NO2/NO3 content were increased in all brain nuclei tested. L-NAME increased blood pressure and NE turnover rate in several brain nuclei of both control and 5/6 nephrectomized rats. In CRF rats, a significant relationship was present between the percent increment in NOS mRNA gene expression related to the renal failure, and the percent increase in norepinephrine turnover rate caused by L-NAME. This suggests that endogenous NO may partially inhibit the activity of the SNS in brain nuclei involved in the neurogenic regulation of blood pressure, and this inhibition is enhanced in CRF rats. In summary, the increase in SNS activity in the posterior hypothalamic nuclei and in the locus coeruleus of CRF rats is partially mitigated by increased local expression of NOS m-RNA.
S Ye, S Nosrati, V M Campese