Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Chronic intermittent hypoxia is used to model the arterial hypoxemia seen in sleep apnea patients and is associated with increased sympathetic nerve activity and a sustained diurnal increase in blood pressure. The renin angiotensin system has been associated with hypertension seen in chronic intermittent hypoxia. Angiotensin converting enzyme 1, which cleaves angiotensin I to the active counterpart angiotensin II, is present within the central nervous system and has been shown to be regulated by AP-1 transcription factors, such as ΔFosB. Our previous study suggested that this transcriptional regulation in the median preoptic nucleus contributes to the sustained blood pressure seen following chronic intermittent hypoxia. Viral mediated delivery of a short hairpin RNA against angiotensin converting enzyme 1 in the median preoptic nucleus was used along with radio-telemetry measurements of blood pressure to test this hypothesis. FosB immunohistochemistry was utilized in order to assess the effects of angiotensin converting enzyme 1 knockdown on the activity of nuclei downstream from median preoptic nucleus. Angiotensin converting enzyme 1 knockdown within median preoptic nucleus significantly attenuated the sustained hypertension seen in chronic intermittent hypoxia. Angiotensin converting enzyme 1 seems to be partly responsible for regulating downstream regions involved in sympathetic and blood pressure control, such as the paraventricular nucleus and the rostral ventrolateral medulla. The data suggest that angiotensin converting enzyme 1 within median preoptic nucleus plays a critical role in the sustained hypertension seen in chronic intermittent hypoxia.
- Angiotensin converting enzyme
- central nervous system
- sleep apnea