Role of the Paraventricular Nucleus of the Hypothalamus in the Sympathoexcitatory Effects of Leptin
Leptin binds to receptors in multiple hypothalamic nuclei to increase sympathetic nerve activity; however, the neurocircuitry is unclear. Here, using anesthetized male Sprague–Dawley rats, we investigated the role of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. Intracerebroventricular injection of leptin slowly increased lumbar sympathetic nerve activity (LSNA), heart rate, mean arterial pressure, and baroreflex control of LSNA and heart rate. Inhibition of the paraventricular nucleus with muscimol completely reversed leptin’s effects. Blockade of paraventricular melanocortin 3/4 receptors with SHU9119 or ionotropic glutamate receptors with kynurenate, alone or together, each partially reversed the effects of leptin, implicating increased activation of glutamate and melanocortin 3/4 receptors. Conversely, although blockade of neuropeptide Y Y1 receptors in the paraventricular nucleus increased LSNA, mean arterial pressure, and heart rate, these responses were prevented by intracerebroventricular or arcuate nucleus injections of leptin, suggesting that, at least in part, leptin also increases sympathetic nerve activity by suppression of tonic neuropeptide Y inhibitory inputs from the arcuate nucleus. Injection of the melanocortin 3/4 receptor agonist melanotan-II into the paraventricular nucleus increased LSNA, mean arterial pressure, and heart rate only after blockade of neuropeptide Y Y1 receptors. Therefore, we conclude that leptin increases LSNA in part via increased glutamatergic and α-melanocyte–stimulating hormone drive of paraventricular sympathoexcitatory neurons, the latter of which requires simultaneous withdrawal of tonic neuropeptide Y inhibition.
- Received June 16, 2015.
- Revision received June 27, 2015.
- Accepted August 19, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.