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Endocrinology. 2009 Nov;150(11):5027-35. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-0429. Epub 2009 Oct 9.

Global disturbances in autonomic function yield cardiovascular instability and hypertension in the chromogranin a null mouse.

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Department of Medicine (0838), University of California, San Diego, San Diego, School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0838, USA.


We reported previously that chromogranin A (Chga) knockout (KO) mice are hypertensive and hyperadrenergic. Here we sought to determine the basis of such alterations by probing physiological, biochemical, and pharmacological responses to perturbations of the autonomic nervous system. In the conscious state, KO mice had substantially elevated basal high blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR); immobilization stress caused increments in systolic BP and HR in both wild-type (WT) and KO mice, with higher maxima but blunted increments in the KO state. Catestatin (CST; CHGA(352-372)) selectively diminished stress-induced increments in BP and HR in KO mice, implicating CST as an antihypertensive peptide, even in stressful conditions. Heightened plasma catecholamines in KO mice returned to WT level after CST. Stress caused further increments in catecholamines in WT mice but no change in KO mice. KO mice displayed diminished baroreflex sensitivity in response to either phenylephrine or sodium nitroprusside, accounting for exaggerated pressor and depressor responses to these compounds; baroreceptor function was normalized by CST. To probe the relative roles of endogenous/basal sympathetic vs. parasympathetic tone in control of BP and HR, we used the muscarinic-cholinergic antagonist atropine or the beta-adrenergic antagonist propranolol; HR and BP responses to each antagonist were exaggerated in KO animals. We conclude that ablation of Chga expression results in global disturbances in autonomic function, both sympathetic and parasympathetic, that can be abrogated (or rescued), at least in part, by replacement of CST. The results point to mechanisms whereby CHGA and its CST fragment act to control cardiovascular homeostasis.

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