Increased osmolality of conscious water-deprived rats supports arterial pressure and sympathetic activity via a brain action

Virginia Brooks, Qi Yue, Theresa L. O'Donaughy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


To test the hypothesis that high osmolality acts in the brain to chronically support mean arterial pressure (MAP) and lumbar sympathetic nerve activity (LSNA), the osmolality of blood perfusing the brain was reduced in conscious water-deprived and water-replete rats by infusion of hypotonic fluid via bilateral nonoccluding intracarotid catheters. In water-deprived rats, the intracarotid hypotonic infusion, estimated to lower osmolality by ∼2%, decreased MAP by 9 ± 1 mmHg and LSNA to 86 ± 7% of control; heart increased by 25 ± 8 beats per minute (bpm) (all P <0.05). MAP, LSNA, and heart rate did not change when the hypotonic fluid was infused intravenously. The intracarotid hypotonic fluid infusion was also ineffective in water-replete rats. Prior treatment with a V1 vasopressin antagonist did not alter the subsequent hypotensive and tachycardic effects of intracarotid hypotonic fluid infusion in water-deprived rats. In summary, acute decreases in osmolality of the carotid blood of water-deprived, but not water-replete, rats decreases MAP and LSNA and increases heart rate. These data support the hypothesis that the elevated osmolality induced by water deprivation acts via a region perfused by the carotid arteries, presumably the brain, to tonically increase MAP and LSNA and suppress heart rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 57-5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005



  • Heart rate
  • Intracarotid infusion
  • Lumbar sympathetic nerve activity
  • Vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this