Hypertension and exercise training differentially affect oxytocin and oxytocin receptor expression in the brain.

Adriano S. Martins, Alessandra Crescenzi, Javier E. Stern, Silvana Bordin, Lisete C. Michelini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that exercise training activates nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) oxytocinergic projections, resulting in blunted exercise tachycardia. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of hypertension and training on oxytocin (OT) and OT receptor expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and projection areas (dorsal brain stem [DBS]). Male, normotensive, Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) and spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) rats were trained (55% maximal exercise capacity, 3 months) or kept sedentary, and pressure was measured weekly. DBS sections were processed for immunohistochemistry (polyclonal guinea pig anti-OT) or in situ hybridization for OT and OT receptor (35S-oligonucleotide probes). Other groups of rats had brains removed and frozen to isolate the DBS and PVN; samples were processed for OT and OT receptor cDNA reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction amplification with beta-actin as the housekeeping gene. Training was equally effective in improving running distance in both groups, with pressure reduction only in SHR (-10%, P<0.05). In trained WKY, baseline bradycardia (P<0.05) occurred simultaneously with increased NTS OT immunostaining and mRNA expression (+3.5-fold), without any change in OT receptor mRNA expression. PVN OT mRNA and DBS OT receptor mRNA expressions were significantly lower in SHR versus WKY (-39% and -56%, respectively). Training did not alter DBS OT receptor density in the SHR group but increased OT mRNA in both PVN and DBS areas (+78% and +45%, respectively). Our results show a marked hypertension-induced reduction in OT receptor mRNA expression, not altered by training. In contrast, training increased OT mRNA expression in sedentary and hypertensive rats, which may facilitate training-induced cardiac performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1004-1009
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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