As the most widely used pesticides in the world, fatal incidence of suicidal poisoning by organophosphate compounds is high and is often associated with cardiovascular toxicity. Using the pesticide mevinphos as our tool, we investigated the roles of oxidative stress and nitrosative stress at the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM), the brain stem site that maintains arterial pressure (AP) and sympathetic vasomotor tone, in the cardiovascular depressive effects of organophosphate poisons. Microinjection of mevinphos (10 nmol) into the RVLM of anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats induced progressive hypotension that was accompanied by an increase (phase I), followed by a decrease (phase II) of an experimental index of baroreflex-mediated sympathetic vasomotor tone, with a fatality rate of 35%. During phase I, there was a preferential upregulation of angiotensin type I receptor (AT1R) messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein that leads to activation of NADPH oxidase (Nox) and increase in superoxide at the RVLM. Pharmacological antagonism of these signals exacerbated fatality and shorted survival time by eliminating baroreflex-mediated sympathetic vasomotor tone, AP, and heart rate. During phase II, there was a progressive upregulation of angiotensin type II receptor (AT2R) mRNA and protein that leads to increase in peroxynitrite in the RVLM, blockade of both sustained brain stem cardiovascular regulation and improved survival. We further found that AT1R and AT2R cross-interacted at transcriptional and signaling levels in the RVLM. We conclude that a transition from AT1R-mediated oxidative stress to AT2Rmediated nitrosative stress in the RVLM underlies the shift from sustained to impaired brain stem cardiovascular regulation that underpins cardiovascular fatality during mevinphos intoxication.
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