Angiotensin II-NADPH oxidase-derived superoxide mediates diabetes-attenuated cell excitability of aortic baroreceptor neurons

Yu Long Li, Hong Zheng

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Overactivation of hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels is involved in diabetes-depressed excitability of aortic baroreceptor neurons in nodose ganglia. This involvement links to the autonomic dysfunction associated with high morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. The present study examined the effects of an angiotensin II type I receptor (AT 1R) antagonist (losartan), a NADPH oxidase inhibitor (apocynin), and a superoxide dismutase mimetic (tempol) on the enhanced HCN currents and attenuated cell excitability in diabetic nodose neurons. In sham and streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetic rats, HCN currents and cell excitability of aortic baroreceptor neurons were recorded by the whole cell patch-clamp technique. The angiotensin II level in nodose ganglia from diabetic rats was higher than that from sham rats (101.6 ± 4.8 vs. 38.9 ± 4.2 pg/mg protein, P < 0.05). Single-cell RT-PCR, Western blot, immunofluorescence staining, and chemiluminescence data showed that mRNA and protein expression of AT 1R, protein expression of NADPH oxidase components, and superoxide production in nodose neurons were increased in diabetic rats compared with those from sham rats. HCN current density was higher and cell excitability was lower in aortic baroreceptor neurons from diabetic rats than that from sham rats. Losartan (1 μM), apocynin (100 μM), and tempol (1 μM) normalized the enhanced HCN current density and increased the cell excitability in the aortic baroreceptor neurons of diabetic rats. These findings suggest that endogenous angiotensin II-NADPH oxidase-superoxide signaling contributes to the enhanced HCN currents and the depressed cell excitation in the aortic baroreceptor neurons of diabetic rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1368-C1377
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011



  • Baroreflex
  • Ion channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology

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