Postinfarct sympathetic hyperactivity differentially stimulates expression of tyrosine hydroxylase and norepinephrine transporter

Diana C. Parrish, Kurt Gritman, Donna M. Van Winkle, William R. Woodward, Michael Bader, Beth A. Habecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The balance between norepinephrine (NE) synthesis, release, and reuptake is disrupted after acute myocardial infarction, resulting in elevated extracellular NE. Stimulation of sympathetic neurons in vitro increases NE synthesis and the synthetic enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) to a greater extent than it increases NE reuptake and the NE transporter (NET), which removes NE from the extracellular space. We used TGR(ASrAOGEN) transgenic rats, which lack postinfarct sympathetic hyperactivity, to test the hypothesis that increased cardiac sympathetic nerve activity accounts for the imbalance in TH and NET expression in these neurons after myocardial infarction. TH and NET mRNA levels were identical in the stellate ganglia of unoperated TGR(ASrAOGEN) rats compared with Sprague Dawley (SD) controls, but the threefold increase in TH and twofold increase in NET mRNA seen in the stellate ganglia of SD rats 1 wk after ischemia-reperfusion was absent in TGR(ASrAOGEN) rats. Similarly, the increase in TH and NET protein observed in the base of the SD ventricle was absent in the base of the TGR (ASrAOGEN) ventricle. Neuronal TH content was depleted in the left ventricle of both genotypes, whereas NET was unchanged. Basal heart rate and cardiac function were similar in both genotypes, but TGR(ASrAOGEN) hearts were more sensitive to the β-agonist dobutamine. Tyramine-induced release of endogenous NE generated similar changes in ventricular pressure and contractility in both genotypes, but postinfarct relaxation was enhanced in TGR(ASrAOGEN) hearts. These data support the hypothesis that postinfarct sympathetic hyperactivity is the major stimulus increasing TH and NET expression in cardiac neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H99-H106
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Autonomic
  • Ischemia-reperfusion
  • Sympathetic hyperactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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