Area postrema and sympathetic nervous system effects of vasopressin and angiotensin II

Eileen M. Hasser, J. Thomas Cunningham, Margaret J. Sullivan, Kathleen S. Curtis, Edward H. Blaine, Meredith Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


1. Precise control over the cardiovascular system requires the integration of both neural and humoral signals related to blood volume and blood pressure. Humoral signals interact with neural systems, modulating their control over the efferent mechanisms that ultimately determine the level of pressure and volume. 2. Peptide hormones such as angiotensin (Ang)II and arginine vasopressin (AVP) act through circumventricular organs (CVO) to influence cardiovascular regulation. 3. The area postrema (AP), a CVO in the brainstem, mediates at least some of the central actions of these peptides. Vasopressin appears to act in the AP to cause sympathoinhibition and a shift in baroreflex control of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to lower pressures. These effects of AVP and the AP appear to be mediated by α2- adrenoceptor and glutamatergic mechanisms in the nucleus tractus solitarius. 4. In contrast to AVP AngII has effects in the AP to blunt baroreflex control of heart rate and cause sympathoexcitation. The effects of chronic AngII to increase activity of the SNS may be due to AP-dependent activation of neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-436
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2000


  • Angiotensin II
  • Area postrema
  • Arterial blood pressure
  • Baroreflex
  • Hypertension
  • Vasopressin
  • Ventrolateral medulla


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