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Neuroscience. 2009 Dec 15;164(3):1303-11. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.08.064. Epub 2009 Sep 4.

Dietary sodium deprivation evokes activation of brain regional neurons and down-regulation of angiotensin II type 1 receptor and angiotensin-convertion enzyme mRNA expression.

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Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Key Laboratory of Environment and Genes Related to Diseases, Ministry of Education, School of Medicine, Xi'an Jiaotong University, 76# W. Yanta Road, Xi'an, 710061, PR China.


Previous studies have indicated that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is implicated in the induction of sodium appetite in rats and that different dietary sodium intakes influence the mRNA expression of central and peripheral RAAS components. To determine whether dietary sodium deprivation activates regional brain neurons related to sodium appetite, and changes their gene expression of RAAS components of rats, the present study examined the c-Fos expression after chronic exposure to low sodium diet, and determined the relationship between plasma and brain angiotensin I (ANG I), angiotensin II (ANG II) and aldosterone (ALD) levels and the sodium ingestive behavior variations, as well as the effects of prolonged dietary sodium deprivation on ANG II type 1 (AT1) and ANG II type 2 (AT2) receptors and angiotensin-convertion enzyme (ACE) mRNA levels in the involved brain regions using the method of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results showed that the Fos immunoreactivity (Fos-ir) expression in forebrain areas such as subfornical organ (SFO), paraventricular hypothalamic nuclei (PVN), supraoptic nucleus (SON) and organum vasculosum laminae terminalis (OVLT) all increased significantly and that the levels of ANG I, ANG II and ALD also increased in plasma and forebrain in rats fed with low sodium diet. In contrast, AT1, ACE mRNA in PVN, SON and OVLT decreased significantly in dietary sodium depleted rats, while AT2 mRNA expression did not change in the examined areas. These results suggest that many brain areas are activated by increased levels of plasma and/or brain ANG II and ALD, which underlies the elevated preference for hypertonic salt solution after prolonged exposure to low sodium diet, and that the regional AT1 and ACE mRNA are down-regulated after dietary sodium deprivation, which may be mediated by increased ANG II in plasma and/or brain tissue.

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