Autonomic and cardiovascular reflex responses to central estrogen injection in ovariectomized female rats.Brain Res. 2000 Oct 06; 879(1-2):105-14.BR
The role of estrogen in central autonomic nuclei was examined in ovariectomized female Sprague-Dawley rats supplemented daily for 7 days with either estrogen (5 microg/kg; sc) or saline (0.9%; sc). Animals were subsequently anaesthetized with sodium thiobutabarbital (Inactin; 100 mg/kg; ip) and instrumented to record blood pressure and heart rate. Efferent vagal parasympathetic (VPNA) and renal sympathetic (RSNA) nerve activities were recorded and used to assess baseline and reflexive changes in autonomic tone. The cardiac baroreflex was evoked using a single bolus injection of phenylephrine (0.1 mg/kg) both before and following either intrathecal injection of estrogen (0.5 microM; 1 microl) or bilateral injection of estrogen (0.5 microM; 100 nl/side) into several central autonomic nuclei. In estrogen-replaced rats, both the baseline and PE-evoked values for mean arterial pressure and RSNA were significantly decreased following injection of estrogen into the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM), parabrachial nucleus (PBN), central nucleus of the amygdala (CNA) and the intrathecal space. Baseline heart rate and VPNA were significantly decreased following injection of estrogen into NTS, nucleus ambiguous (Amb), PBN and the intrathecal space. PE-evoked changes in heart rate and VPNA were significantly enhanced following injection of estrogen into these same nuclei. Injection of estrogen into the insular cortex (IC) produced significant decreases in baseline and PE-evoked RSNA only. The cardiac baroreflex was significantly enhanced following injection of estrogen into all nuclei and the intrathecal space. In saline-replaced females, injection of estrogen into NTS, RVLM, Amb and the intrathecal space had similar effects on both baseline and PE-evoked parameters although of a reduced magnitude compared to estrogen-replaced rats. However, no significant changes in autonomic tone and baroreflex function were observed following the injection of estrogen into the PBN, CNA or IC of saline-replaced rats. These results demonstrate a role for estrogen in central autonomic nuclei in female rats and suggest a possible alteration of estrogen receptor distribution or efficacy within the central nervous system of estrogen-deficient female rats.