Mineralocorticoid receptor in the NTS stimulates saline intake during fourth ventricular infusions of aldosterone

Bhuvaneswari Koneru, Chandra Sekhar Bathina, Brandon H. Cherry, Steve W. Mifflin

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether neurons within the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) that express the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) play a role in aldosterone stimulation of salt intake. Adult Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats received microinjections into the NTS of a short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) for the MR, to site specifically reduce levels of the MR by RNA interference (shRNA; n = 9) or scrambled RNA as a control (scRNA; n = 8). After injection of the viral construct, aldosterone-filled osmotic minipumps were implanted subcutaneously and connected to a cannula extending into the fourth ventricle to infuse aldosterone at a rate of 25 ng/h. Before and after surgeries, rats had ad libitum access to normal sodium (0.26%) rat chow and two graduated drinking bottles filled with either distilled water or 0.3 M NaCl. Before the surgeries, basal saline intake was 1.6 ± 0.6 ml in the scRNA group and 1.56 ± 0.6 ml in the shRNA group. Twenty-four days postsurgery, saline intake was elevated to a greater extent in the scRNA group (5.9 ± 1.07 ml) than in the shRNA group (2.41 ± 0.6 ml). Post mortem immunohistochemistry revealed a significant reduction in the number of NTS neurons exhibiting immunoreactivity for MR in shRNA-injected rats (23 ± 1 cells/section) versus scRNA-injected rats (33 ± 2 cells/section; P = 0.008). shRNA did not alter the level of 11-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type II (HSD2) protein in the NTS as judged by the number of HSD2 immunoreactive neurons. These results suggest that fourth ventricular infusions of aldosterone stimulate saline intake, and that this stimulation is at least in part mediated by hindbrain NTS neurons that express MR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R61-R66
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • 11-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type II neurons
  • Mineralocorticoid receptor
  • NTS
  • Sodium intake


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