Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction, which is manifested by an impairment of the arterial baroreflex, is prevalent irrespective of etiology and contributes to the increased morbidity and mortality in cirrhotic patients. However, the cellular mechanisms that underlie the cirrhosis-impaired arterial baroreflex remain unknown. In the present study, we examined whether the cirrhosis-impaired arterial baroreflex is attributable to the dysfunction of aortic baroreceptor (AB) neurons. Biliary and nonbiliary cirrhotic rats were generated via common bile duct ligation (CBDL) and intraperitoneal injections of thioacetamide (TAA), respectively. Histological and molecular biological examinations confirmed the development of fibrosis in the livers of both cirrhotic rat models. The heart rate changes during phenylephrine-induced baroreceptor activation indicated that baroreflex sensitivity was blunted in the CBDL and TAA rats. Under the current-clamp mode of the patch-clamp technique, cell excitability was recorded in DiI-labeled AB neurons. The number of action potential discharges in the A- and C-type AB neurons was significantly decreased because of the increased rheobase and threshold potential in the CBDL and TAA rats compared with sham-operated rats. Real-time PCR and Western blotting indicated that the NaV1.7, NaV1.8, and NaV1.9 transcripts and proteins were significantly downregulated in the nodose ganglion neurons from the CBDL and TAA rats compared with the sham-operated rats. Consistent with these molecular data, the tetrodotoxin-sensitive NaV currents and the tetrodotoxin-resistant NaV currents were significantly decreased in A- and C-type AB neurons, respectively, from the CBDL and TAA rats compared with the sham-operated rats. Taken together, these findings implicate a key cellular mechanism in the cirrhosis-impaired arterial baroreflex.
- arterial baroreflex
- aortic baroreceptor neuron
- baroreflex sensitivity
- liver cirrhosis
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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