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Hypertension. 2003 Oct;42(4):488-93. Epub 2003 Aug 25.

Cardiovascular responses evoked by leptin acting on neurons in the ventromedial and dorsomedial hypothalamus.

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1
Department of Physiology and Institute for Biomedical Research, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

Leptin, a circulating hormone produced by adipose tissue, is believed to act on the hypothalamus to increase sympathetic vasomotor activity, in addition to its well-known effects on appetite and energy expenditure. In this study, we determined the cardiovascular effects of direct application of leptin to specific cell groups within the hypothalamus that are known to be activated by circulating leptin. In rats anesthetized with urethane, microinjections of leptin (16 ng in 20 nL solution) were made into the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus, dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus, and paraventricular nucleus. Compared with vehicle solution, microinjections of leptin into the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus evoked significant increases in arterial pressure and renal sympathetic nerve activity, but not heart rate. In contrast, microinjections of leptin into the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus evoked significant increases in arterial pressure and heart rate but not renal sympathetic nerve activity, whereas microinjections of leptin into the paraventricular nucleus had no significant effect on any of the measured cardiovascular variables. These results indicate that the ventromedial and dorsomedial hypothalamic regions might be important sites at which leptin activation leads to increases in sympathetic vasomotor activity and heart rate, as occurs in obesity-related hypertension.

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