DOCA-salt hypertension and the role of the OVLT-sympathetic-gut microbiome axis

Nayara Pestana-Oliveira, David B. Nahey, Rochelle Hartson, Bonnie Weber, Timothy J. Johnson, John P. Collister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypertension is a multifaceted condition influenced by genetic and environmental factors and estimated to cause 9.4 million deaths globally every year. Recently, there has been growing interest in understanding the gut microbe-host interaction in the maintenance of health or disease states, but relatively few studies have shown an association between the gut microbiome and specific types of hypertension. The deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt model of hypertension in rats is known to have a neurogenic component linked to increased sympathetic nervous system activity. As such, our lab has recently shown the hypertensive response in DOCA treated rats requires an intact organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT), a central hypothalamic circumventricular organ. Currently, we hypothesize the OVLT mediates changes in the gut microbiome associated with concomitant hypertension. Herein, we report that the hypertensive effects of DOCA-salt treatment were significantly attenuated throughout the 24-hour day/night cycle in OLVT lesioned rats on days 1, 3, and 9-21 of DOCA treatment compared with sham rats. Increased blood pressure (BP) in DOCA-salt treated rats was accompanied by specific changes in regional gut microbial populations yet was mitigated and offset by lesion of the OVLT. Furthermore, bacterial populations in OVLT-lesioned rats with attenuated hypertension more closely resembled those in normal control rats. We conclude that DOCA-salt hypertension is associated with specific microbiome changes in the gut, and the attenuated hypertensive effects of DOCA-salt in OVLT-lesioned rats is mediated in part through counteracting changes in these bacterial populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-497
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the American Heart Association grant: 19AIREA34380525.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd


  • DOCA-salt model
  • Lactobacilli
  • OVLT
  • gut microbiome
  • hypertension
  • sympathetic nervous system


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