Distinct roles of angiotensin receptors in autonomic dysreflexia following high-level spinal cord injury in mice


  • A. Järve
  • M. Todiras
  • X Lian
  • R. Filippelli-Silva
  • F. Qadri
  • R.P. Martin
  • M. Gollasch
  • M. Bader


  • Experimental Neurology


  • Exp Neurol 311: 173-181


  • Autonomic dysreflexia (AD), a syndrome caused by loss of supraspinal control over sympathetic activity and amplified vascular reflex upon sensory stimuli below injury level, is a major health problem in high-level spinal cord injury (SCI). After supraspinal sympathetic control of the vasculature below the lesion is lost, the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is thought to be involved in AD by regulating blood pressure and vascular reactivity. In this study, we aimed to assess the role of different RAS receptors during AD following SCI. Therefore, we induced AD by colorectal distention (CRD) in wild-type mice and mice deficient in the RAS components angiotensin (Ang) II type 1a receptor (AT1a) (Agtr1a(-/-)) and Ang-(1-7) receptor Mas (Mas(-/-)) four weeks after complete transection of spinal cord at thoracic level 4 (T4). Systemic blood pressure measurements and wire myography technique were performed to assess hemodynamics and the reactivity of peripheral arteries, respectively. CRD increased mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and decreased heart rate (HR) in all three animal groups. However, we found less increases in MAP in Mas(-/-) mice compared to control mice after CRD, whereas AT1a deficiency did not affect the hemodynamic response. We found that the reactivity of wild-type and Mas(-/-) mesenteric arteries, which are innervated from ganglia distal but close to thoracic level T4, was diminished in response to Ang II in AD after T4-SCI, but this difference was not observed in the absence of AT1a receptors. CRD did not influence the reactivity of femoral arteries which are innervated from ganglia more distal to thoracic level T4, in response to Ang II in AD. In conclusion, we identified a specific role of the Ang-(1-7) receptor Mas in regulating the systemic blood pressure increase in AD in T4-SCI mice. Furthermore, AT1a signaling is not involved in this hemodynamic response, but underlies increased vascular reactivity in mesenteric arteries in response to Ang II, where it may contribute to adaptive changes in regional blood flow.