Systemic But Not Central Nervous System Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibition Exacerbates the Hypertensive Effects of Chronic Melanocortin-3/4 Receptor Activation
We examined whether systemic or central nervous system (CNS) inhibition of nitric oxide synthase exacerbates the cardiovascular responses of chronic CNS melanocortin 3/4 receptor activation. Sprague-Dawley rats implanted with telemetry probes, venous catheters, and intracerebroventricular (ICV) cannulae were divided in 3 groups. After control measurements, the NO synthase inhibitor L-NAME was infused (10 μg/kg/min intravenous) for 17 days and, starting on day 7 of L-NAME infusion, the melanocortin 3/4 receptor agonist melanotan II (MTII; 10 ng/hr; group 1) or saline vehicle (group 2) was infused ICV for 10 days. A third group not treated with L-NAME also received MTII ICV. Melanocortin 3/4 receptor activation caused a greater increase in mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate in rats treated with intravenous L-NAME (35±6 mm Hg and 56±8 bpm) than L-NAME plus vehicle or MTII alone (22±5 and 9±2 mm Hg, and 26±14 and 27±5 bpm), despite a 58% and 50% reduction in food intake during the first 6 days of MTII infusion. To test if the amplified pressor response to MTII after L-NAME was attributable to a reduction in nitric oxide availability in the brain, we also infused L-NAME directly into the CNS alone or in combination with MTII. ICV infusion of L-NAME plus MTII caused only ≈10 mm Hg increase in MAP with no change in heart rate, similar to the effects of ICV infusion of MTII alone, whereas ICV infusion of L-NAME alone had no effect on MAP. These results suggest that reduction in peripheral, but not CNS, nitric oxide production augments MAP sensitivity to CNS melanocortin 3/4 receptor activation.
- Received October 2, 2010.
- Revision received October 21, 2010.
- Accepted December 23, 2010.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.