Journal of the American Heart Association

Autonomic dysfunction determines stress-induced cardiovascular and immune complications in mice.

PMID 25999402


Clinical studies suggest that acute inflammation in patients with elevated heart rate (HR) increases morbidity and mortality. The SJL/J (SJL) inbred mouse strain is a unique genetic model that has higher HR and systemic and vascular inflammation compared with C3HeB/FeJ (C3HeB) mice. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of stress on cardiac and vascular complications between 2 strains. Radiotelemetry was used for continuous recordings of HR and blood pressure in mice. Hemodynamic differences between mouse strains were very small without stress; however, tail-cuff training generated mild stress and significantly increased HR (≈2-fold) in SJL compared with C3HeB mice. Circulating proinflammatory monocytes (CD11b(+)Ly6C(H) (i)) significantly increased in SJL mice but not in C3HeB mice after stress. Presence of Ly6C(+) cells in injured carotids was elevated only in SJL mice after stress; however, a transfer of bone marrow cells from SJL/C3HeB to C3HeB/SJL chimeras had no effect on HR or vascular inflammation following stress. Arterial inflammation (VCAM-1(+)) was greater in SJL inbred mice or SJL recipient chimeras, even without stress or injury. HR variability was reduced in SJL mice compared with C3HeB mice. We found that impaired parasympathetic activity is central for stress-induced elevation of HR and systemic and vascular inflammation; however, immune cells from stress-susceptible mice had no effect on HR or vascular inflammation in stress-protected mice.