Role of the sympathetic nervous system during the development of obesity-induced hypertension in rabbits

Antic, Vladan ; Kiener-Belforti, Francesca ; Tempini, Aldo ; Van Vliet, Bruce N. ; Montani, Jean-Pierre

In: American Journal of Hypertension, 2000, vol. 13, no. 5, p. 556-559

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    We have previously reported that weight gain induced by high-fat diet (HFD) leads to an increase in mean arterial pressure (MAP, +14%) and heart rate (HR, +31%) in the adult rabbit. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that an increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system may contribute to the development of obesity-induced hypertension. A combination of α- and β-adrenergic blockers (terazosin + propranolol) was chronically administered to rabbits housed in metabolic cages for continuous monitoring of arterial pressure by telemetry, 24 h a day. After 2 weeks of adrenergic blockade under control diet, animals were switched to HFD for the next 6 weeks. HFD induced a progressive increase in body weight, but no increase in mean arterial pressure (+0.2 ± 2.5%) and a slight increase in heart rate (+14 ± 3%). Time-control animals fed normal diet showed no changes in MAP or HR with long-term α- and β-adrenergic blockade. Our results indicate that the activation of the sympathetic nervous system may play an important role in the pathogenesis of obesity-induced hypertension