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Research Project: Developmental Determinants of Obesity in Infants and Children

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Estrogen receptor-a in the medial amygdala prevents stress-induced elevations in blood pressure in females

Author
item HINTON, ANTENTOR - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item HE, YANLIN - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item XIA, YAN - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item XU, PINGWEN - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item YANG, YONGJIE - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item SAITO, KENJI - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item WANG, CHUNMEI - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item YAN, XIAOFENG - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item SHU, GANG - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item HENDERSON, ALEXANDER - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item CLEGG, DEBORAH - Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
item KHAN, SOHAIB - Cincinnati Children'S Research Hospital
item REYNOLDS, COREY - Baylor College Of Medicine
item WU, QI - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item TONG, QINGCHUN - University Of Houston
item XU, YONG - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Hypertension
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2016
Publication Date: 4/18/2016
Citation: Hinton, A.O., He, Y., Xia, Y., Xu, P., Yang, Y., Saito, K., Wang, C., Yan, X., Shu, G., Henderson, A., Clegg, D.J., Khan, S.A., Reynolds, C., Wu, Q., Tong, Q., Xu, Y. 2016. Estrogen receptor-a in the medial amygdala prevents stress-induced elevations in blood pressure in females. Hypertension. 67:1321-1330. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.07175.

Interpretive Summary: Hypertension is a serious global health problem and treatments are not ideal. Here we showed that the female sex hormone, estrogen, can reduce blood pressure in female mice through its actions in a brain region, called the medial amygdala. These findings suggest that estrogen signals in this brain region could be a potential target for treatment of hypertension.

Technical Abstract: Psychological stress contributes to the development of hypertension in humans. The ovarian hormone, estrogen, has been shown to prevent stress-induced pressor responses in females by unknown mechanisms. Here, we showed that the antihypertensive effects of estrogen during stress were blunted in female mice lacking estrogen receptor-a in the brain medial amygdala. Deletion of estrogen receptor-a in medial amygdala neurons also resulted in increased excitability of these neurons, associated with elevated ionotropic glutamate receptor expression. We further demonstrated that selective activation of medial amygdala neurons mimicked effects of stress to increase blood pressure in mice. Together, our results support a model where estrogen acts on estrogen receptor-a expressed by medial amygdala neurons to prevent stress-induced activation of these neurons, and therefore prevents pressor responses to stress.