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Neuron. 1998 Dec;21(6):1435-41.

A molecular component of the arterial baroreceptor mechanotransducer.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, USA.


Baroreceptor nerve endings detect acute fluctuations in arterial pressure. We tested the hypothesis that members of the DEG/ENaC family of cation channels, which are responsible for touch sensation in Caenorhabditis elegans, may be components of the baroreceptor mechanosensor. We found the gamma subunit of ENaC localized to the site of mechanotransduction in baroreceptor nerve terminals innervating the aortic arch and carotid sinus. A functional role for DEG/ENaC members was suggested by blockade of baroreceptor nerve activity and baroreflex control of blood pressure by an amiloride analog that inhibits DEG/ENaC channels. These data suggest that ENaC subunits may be components of the baroreceptor mechanotransducer and pave the way to a better definition of mechanisms responsible for blood pressure regulation and hypertension.

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