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Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 1999;13(6):624-34.

Cardiovascular responses to intrathecal dopamine receptor agonists in conscious DOCA-salt hypertensive rats.

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Departamento de Fisiologia e Farmacologia, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Cidade Universitária, Recife, Brazil.


Previous studies have demonstrated that in conscious deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertensive rats, the hypotensive action of intravenous (i.v.) bromocriptine, a selective dopamine D2 receptor agonist, was mediated partly by peripheral and partly by spinal dopamine D2 receptor stimulation, and that this effect was greater and longer-lasting than that in uninephrectomized control rats. To determine whether this amplification results partly from a putative spinal hypersensitivity phenomenon, cardiovascular responses to intrathecal (i.t.) administration of apomorphine and quinpirole were studied in conscious, 4-week DOCA-salt hypertensive rats and compared with those in uninephrectomized control rats. In both groups, upper thoracic (T2-T4) i.t. injections of apomorphine (9.1, 45.5 and 91.1 microg/rat) induced immediate and dose-dependent decreases in mean aortic pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR), while i.t. quinpirole (38.4 microg/rat) induced only bradycardia. Neither magnitude nor duration of these responses was enhanced in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats when compared to control rats. In DOCA-salt hypertensive rats, apomorphine-induced hypotension and bradycardia remained unaffected by i.v. (500 microg/kg) pretreatment with domperidone, a selective dopamine D2 receptor antagonist that does not cross the blood-brain barrier. However, i.t. (40 microg/rat at T2-T4) pretreatment with domperidone significantly reduced apomorphine-induced hypotension, but fully suppressed bradycardia elicited by either apomorphine or quinpirole. These results demonstrated that in conscious DOCA-salt hypertensive rats, intrathecally-injected apomorphine or quinpirole decreased MAP and/or HR through a spinal D2 dopaminergic mechanism, as previously demonstrated in normotensive intact rats. Since both magnitude and duration of these responses were unchanged with respect to uninephrectomized control rats, enhancement of the hypotensive effect of intravenously-administered bromocriptine in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats does not appear to involve spinal dopamine D2 receptors.

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