Recently we have shown functional involvement of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (P13K)-Akt-nitric oxide synthase (NOS) signaling pathway in central control of cardiovascular effects in the nucleus tractus solitaril (NTS) of normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. In this study we determined whether P13K/Akt signaling was defective in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). WKY rats and SHR were anesthetized with urethane. Mean blood pressure (MBP) and heart rate (HR) were monitored intra-arterially. Unilateral microinjection (60 nL) of insulin (100 IU/mL) into the NTS produced prominent depressor and bradycardic effects in 8- and 16-week-old normotensive WKY and 8-week-old SHR. However, no significant cardiovascular effects were found in 16-week-old SHR after insulin injection. Furthermore, pretreatment with P13K Inhibitor LY294002 and NOS inhibitor L-NAME into the NTS attenuated the cardiovascular response evoked by insulin in WKY and 8-week-old SHR but not in 16-week-old SHR. Unilateral microinjection of 1 mmol/L of PI(3,4,5)P3 (phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate), a phospholipids second messenger produced by P13K, into the NTS produced prominent depressor and brycardic effects in 8- or 16-week-old WKY rats as well as 8-week-old SHR but not in 16-week-old SHR. Western blot analysis showed no significant increase in Akt phosphorylation in 8-week-old pre-hypertensive SHR after insulin injection. Similar results were also found in hypertensive 16-week-old SHR. Our results indicate that the Akt-independent signaling pathway is involved in NOS activation to regulate cardiovascular effects in the NTS of 8-week-old pre-hypertensive SHR. Both Akt-dependent and Akt-independant signaling pathways are defective in hypertensive 16-week-old SHR.
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