We previously reported that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is induced in the subfornical organ (SFO) and the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of heart failure (HF) rats and is reduced by inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. The present study further examined the relationship between brain MAPK signaling, ER stress, and sympathetic excitation in HF. Sham-operated (Sham) and HF rats received a 4-wk intracerebroventricular (ICV) infusion of vehicle (Veh) or the ER stress inhibitor tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA, 10 μg/day). Lower mRNA levels of the ER stress biomarkers GRP78, ATF6, ATF4, and XBP-1s in the SFO and PVN of TUDCA-treated HF rats validated the efficacy of the TUDCA dose. The elevated levels of phosphorylated p44/42 and p38 MAPK in SFO and PVN of Veh-treated HF rats, compared with Sham rats, were significantly reduced in TUDCA-treated HF rats as shown by Western blot and immunofluorescent staining. Plasma norepinephrine levels were higher in Veh-treated HF rats, compared with Veh-treated Sham rats, and were significantly lower in the TUDCA-treated HF rats. TUDCA-treated HF rats also had lower mRNA levels for angiotensin converting enzyme, angiotensin II type 1 receptor, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, cyclooxygenase-2, and NF-κB p65, and a higher mRNA level of IκB-α, in the SFO and PVN than Veh-treated HF rats. These data suggest that ER stress contributes to the augmented sympathetic activity in HF by inducing MAPK signaling, thereby promoting inflammation and renin-angiotensin system activity in key cardiovascular regulatory regions of the brain.
- endoplasmic reticulum stress
- mitogen-activated protein kinase
- sympathetic activity
- hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus
- subfornical organ
- heart failure
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