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Auton Autacoid Pharmacol. 2005 Oct;25(4):171-7.

A novel mechanism prevents the development of hypertension during chronic cold stress.

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Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Science, Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, 1402 South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA.


1 Chronic cold exposure of rats (7 days in a cold room at 4 degrees C) attenuated the sympathetic nerve stimulation (NS)-induced overflow of noradrenaline (NE) (measured by high-performance liquid chromatography, coupled to electrochemical detection) appearing in the perfusate/superfusate of the perfused mesenteric arterial bed as well as the increase in the perfusion pressure. 2 The same type of cold exposure resulted in an increase in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) gene expression measured in the superior cervical ganglion and NE content measured in the mesenteric artery obtained from cold-exposed rats. 3 Addition of sodium nitroprusside, a nitric oxide (NO) donor, to the buffer perfusing the mesenteric arterial bed obtained from rats maintained at room temperature also resulted in an attenuation of the NS-induced overflow of NE and increase in perfusion pressure. 4 N(c)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), an NO synthase inhibitor, placed in the drinking water prevented the attenuation of the pre- and post-junctional responses to NS of the mesenteric arterial bed obtained from cold-exposed rats. 5 L-NAME treatment also increased the cold-induced elevation of blood pressure seen in whole animals. 6 The present results are consistent with the idea that cold exposure leads to a concomitant increase in sympathetic nerve activity and production of NO. We hypothesize that the increase in production and release of NO results in a decrease in the biologically active form of NE despite increased synthesis and release of the catecholamine. 7 It is concluded that the above-mentioned interactions serve as a protective mechanism offsetting the increased release and action of NE from sympathetic nerves and thus preventing the development of hypertension.

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