The essential role of hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus nNOS in the modulation of autonomic control in exercised rats.Nitric Oxide. 2018 09 01; 79:14-24.NO
Nitric oxide (NO), an intercellular signaling molecule is relevant for circulatory autonomic control. Brain NO synthase (NOS) and NO levels were downregulated in pathological conditions, but rescued after exercise training. We hypothesized that exercise training was also able to improve NO modulation within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of healthy rats. Male Wistar rats were submitted to two 4-weeks protocols: i) swimming training (T) or kept sedentary (S), ii) l-arginine (62,5 mg/mL, 1 mL/day p. o.) or vehicle supplementation. Rats underwent stereotaxic surgery (PVN bilateral guide cannulas) and chronic catheterization of artery/vein. Arterial pressure (AP), heart rate (HR) and baroreflex sensitivity were recorded in conscious rats at rest and following a selective nNOS inhibitor (Nw-Propyl-l-Arginine, 4 nmol/100 nL) within the PVN. Rats were deeply anesthetized for brain perfusion/harvesting after respiratory arrest. In separate groups (T and S, l-arginine and Vehicle supplemented) not submitted to PVN cannulation, fresh and fixed brains were obtained for gene and protein nNOS expression (qPCR and immunohistochemistry) and nitrite levels (Griess reaction). T and l-arginine treatment were accompanied by resting bradycardia, augmented parasympathetic and reduced sympathetic activity to heart and vessels (power spectral analysis) and increased baroreflex sensitivity (†P < 0.05). In contrast, PVN nNOS inhibition blocked/attenuated these effects in addition to significantly increase in resting MAP and HR (with larger effects in T and l-arginine treated rats vs. respective controls, †P < 0.05). T increased nNOS gene and protein expression within the ventromedial and posterior PVN nuclei (†P < 0.05). PVN nitirite levels were also increased in T and l-arginine groups (†P < 0.05). Data strongly suggest that training by increasing NO availability within PVN preautonomic nuclei favors both the slow down of sympathetic and the augmentation of parasympathetic activity and facilitates baroreflex control, therefore improving autonomic regulation of the heart in healthy rats.