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The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Chronic intermittent hypoxia induces NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity and suppresses nitric oxide signaling in the mouse hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus.


PMID 20826673

Abstract

Chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) is a concomitant of sleep apnea that produces a slowly developing chemosensory-dependent blood pressure elevation ascribed in part to NMDA receptor-dependent plasticity and reduced nitric oxide (NO) signaling in the carotid body. The hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) is responsive to hypoxic stress and also contains neurons that express NMDA receptors and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS). We tested the hypothesis that extended (35 d) CIH results in a decrease in the surface/synaptic availability of the essential NMDA NR1 subunit in nNOS-containing neurons and NMDA-induced NO production in the PVN of mice. As compared with controls, the 35 d CIH-exposed mice showed a significant increase in blood pressure and an increased density of NR1 immunogold particles located in the cytoplasm of nNOS-containing dendrites. Neither of these between-group differences was seen after 14 d, even though there was already a reduction in the NR1 plasmalemmal density at this time point. Patch-clamp recording of PVN neurons in slices showed a significant reduction in NMDA currents after either 14 or 35 d exposure to CIH compared with sham controls. In contrast, NO production, as measured by the NO-sensitive fluorescent dye 4-amino-5-methylamino-2',7'-difluorofluorescein, was suppressed only in the 35 d CIH group. We conclude that CIH produces a reduction in the surface/synaptic targeting of NR1 in nNOS neurons and decreases NMDA receptor-mediated currents in the PVN before the emergence of hypertension, the development of which may be enabled by suppression of NO signaling in this brain region.

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