Effect of methyldopa on brain cholinergic neurons involved in cardiovascular regulation. A study in conscious spontaneously hypertensive rats.
Chemical stimulation of brain cholinergic neurons in many species can produce hypertension. Recent studies in this laboratory have demonstrated that clonidine inhibits this central cholinergic pressor response by inhibiting the biosynthesis of brain acetylcholine. This study was designed to determine whether methyldopa, like clonidine, could inhibit brain cholinergic neurons involved in cardiovascular regulation in freely-moving spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Intravenous (i.v.) injection of methyldopa (50-200 mg/kg) produced a dose-related fall in blood pressure (29/15-54/33 mm Hg) in SHR. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of hemicholinium-3 (HC-3) in SHR evoked a fall in arterial pressure through inhibition of acetylcholine synthesis. Doses of HC-3 (10 micrograms, or 15 micrograms, i.c.v.) and methyldopa (50 mg/kg, i.v.) were administered to produce small reductions in arterial pressure in SHR (7-14 mm Hg diastolic, respectively). When the two agents were injected simultaneously, however, a greater than additive response was obtained (p less than 0.05). Central injection of echothiophate (a long-acting cholinesterase inhibitor) to potentiate brain cholinergic activity resulted in a sustained hypertensive response (greater than 40 mm Hg) in SHR for at least 150 minutes. Simultaneous injection of or pretreatment with methyldopa (100 mg/kg, i.v.) inhibited the pressor response to echothiophate over a time course similar to its antihypertensive response in untreated SHR. Methyldopa, however, was completely ineffective in altering the hypertensive response to central injection of carbachol (1 microgram, i.c.v.). This difference in methyldopa susceptibility between the indirect-acting (echothiophate) and direct-acting (carbachol) cholinergic agonists may be related to an inhibiting effect of methyldopa on brain acetylcholine release.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1984 by American Heart Association