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Am J Physiol. 1998 Oct;275(4 Pt 2):R1209-17.

The area postrema does not modulate the long-term salt sensitivity of arterial pressure.

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Department of Veterinary PathoBiology, and Physiology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.


The hindbrain circumventricular organ, the area postrema (AP), receives multiple signals linked to body fluid homeostasis. In addition to baroreceptor input, AP cells contain receptors for ANG II, vasopressin, and atrial natriuretic peptide. Hence, it has been proposed that the AP is critical in long-term adjustments in sympathetic outflow in response to changes in dietary NaCl. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that long-term control of arterial pressure over a range of dietary NaCl requires an intact AP. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly selected for lesion of the AP (APx) or sham lesion. Three months later, rats were instrumented with radiotelemetry transmitters for continuous monitoring of mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate and were placed in individual metabolic cages. Rats were given 1 wk postoperative recovery. The dietary salt protocol consisted of a 7-day period of 1.0% NaCl (control), 14 days of 4.0% NaCl (high), 7 days of 1.0% NaCl, and finally 14 days of 0.1% NaCl (low). The results are reported as the average arterial pressure observed on the last day of the given dietary salt period: APx (n = 7) 114 +/- 2 (1.0%), 110 +/- 3 (4.0%), 110 +/- 3 (1.0%), and 114 +/- 4 (0.1%) mmHg; sham (n = 6) 115 +/- 2 (1.0%), 114 +/- 3 (4.0%), 111 +/- 3 (1. 0%), and 113 +/- 2 (0.1%) mmHg. Neither group of rats demonstrated significant changes in MAP throughout the entire dietary salt protocol. Furthermore, no significant differences in MAP were detected between groups throughout the protocol. All lesions were histologically verified. These results suggest that the area postrema plays no role in long-term control of arterial pressure during chronic changes in dietary salt.

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