American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology

Intracarotid hypertonic sodium chloride differentially modulates sympathetic nerve activity to the heart and kidney.

PMID 24523342


Hypertonic NaCl infused into the carotid arteries increases mean arterial pressure (MAP) and changes sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) via cerebral mechanisms. We hypothesized that elevated sodium levels in the blood supply to the brain would induce differential responses in renal and cardiac SNA via sensors located outside the blood-brain barrier. To investigate this hypothesis, we measured renal and cardiac SNA simultaneously in conscious sheep during intracarotid infusions of NaCl (1.2 M), sorbitol (2.4 M), or urea (2.4 M) at 1 ml/min for 4 min into each carotid. Intracarotid NaCl significantly increased MAP (91 ± 2 to 97 ± 3 mmHg, P < 0.05) without changing heart rate (HR). Intracarotid NaCl was associated with no change in cardiac SNA (11 ± 5.0%), but a significant inhibition of renal SNA (-32.5 ± 6.4%, P < 0.05). Neither intracarotid sorbitol nor urea changed MAP, HR, central venous pressure, cardiac SNA, and renal SNA. The changes in MAP and renal SNA were completely abolished by microinjection of the GABA agonist muscimol (5 mM, 500 nl each side) into the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN). Infusion of intracarotid NaCl for 20 min stimulated a larger increase in water intake (1,100 ± 75 ml) than intracarotid sorbitol (683 ± 125 ml) or intracarotid urea (0 ml). These results demonstrate that acute increases in blood sodium levels cause a decrease in renal SNA, but no change in cardiac SNA in conscious sheep. These effects are mediated by cerebral sensors located outside the blood-brain barrier that are more responsive to changes in sodium concentration than osmolality. The renal sympathoinhibitory effects of sodium are mediated via a pathway that synapses in the PVN.

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