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Hypertension. 2013 Jun;61(6):1255-62. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.00903. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

Estrogen receptor-β in the paraventricular nucleus and rostroventrolateral medulla plays an essential protective role in aldosterone/salt-induced hypertension in female rats.

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Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall E, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


The identification of the specific estrogen receptor (ER) subtypes that are involved in estrogen protection from hypertension and their specific locations in the central nervous system is critical to our understanding and design of effective estrogen replacement therapies in women. Using selective ER agonists and recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) carrying small interference (si) RNA to silence either ERα (AAV-siRNA-ERα) or ERβ (AAV-siRNA-ERβ), the present study investigated regional specificity of different ER subtypes in the protective actions of estrogen in aldosterone (Aldo)-induced hypertension. Intracerebroventricular infusions of either diarylpropionitrile, a selective ERβ agonist, or propyl-pyrazole-triol, a selective ERα agonist, attenuated Aldo/NaCl-induced hypertension in ovariectomized rats. In contrast, intracerebroventricular injections of siRNA-ERα or siRNA-ERβ augmented Aldo-induced hypertension in intact females. Site-specific paraventricular nucleus (PVN) or rostroventrolateral medulla (RVLM) injections of siRNA-ERβ augmented Aldo-induced hypertension. However, rats with PVN or RVLM injections of siRNA-ERα did not significantly increase blood pressure induced by Aldo. Real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses of the PVN and RVLM of siRNA-injected rat confirmed a marked reduction in the expression of ERα and ERβ. In cultured PVN neurons, silencing either ERα or ERβ by culturing PVN neurons with siRNA-ERα or siRNA-ERβ enhanced Aldo-induced reactive oxygen species production. Ganglionic blockade after Aldo infusion showed an increase in sympathetic activity in ERβ knockdown rats. These results indicate that both PVN and RVLM ERβ, but not ERα in these nuclei, contribute to the protective effects of estrogen against Aldo-induced hypertension. The brain regions responsible for the protective effects of estrogen interaction with ERα in Aldo-induced hypertension still need to be determined.


aldosterone; blood pressure; central nervous system; estrogen receptors

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