This study tested the hypothesis that deletion of angiotensin type 1a receptors (AT1a) from the paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus (PVN) attenuates anxiety-like behavior, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity, and cardiovascular reactivity. We used the Cre/LoxP system to generate male mice with AT1a specifically deleted from the PVN. Deletion of the AT1a from the PVN reduced anxiety-like behavior as indicated by increased time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus maze. In contrast, PVN AT1a deletion had no effect on HPA axis activation subsequent to an acute restraint challenge but did reduce hypothalamic mRNA expression for corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). To determine whether PVN AT1a deletion inhibits cardiovascular reactivity, we measured systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rate variability (HRV) using telemetry and found that PVN AT1a deletion attenuated restraint-induced elevations in systolic blood pressure and elicited changes in HRV indicative of reduced sympathetic nervous activity. Consistent with the decreased HRV, PVN AT1a deletion also decreased adrenal weight, suggestive of decreased adrenal sympathetic outflow. Interestingly, the altered stress responsivity of mice with AT1a deleted from the PVN was associated with decreased hypothalamic microglia and proinflammatory cytokine expression. Collectively, these results suggest that deletion of AT1a from the PVN attenuates anxiety, CRH gene transcription, and cardiovascular reactivity and reduced brain inflammation may contribute to these effects.
- corticotropin-releasing hormone
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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