Roles of the subfornical organ and area postrema in arterial pressure increases induced by 48-h water deprivation in normal rats

John P. Collister, David B. Nahey, Michael D. Hendel, Virginia L. Brooks

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3 Scopus citations


In rats, water deprivation (WD) increases arterial blood pressure (BP) in part due to actions of elevated osmolality in the brain to increase vasopressin levels and sympathetic activity. However, the osmoreceptors that mediate this response have not been identified. To test the hypothesis that osmoregulatory circumventricular organs are involved, BP and heart rate (HR) were continuously recorded telemetrically during 48 h of WD in normal rats with lesions (x) or sham lesions (sham) of the subfornical organ (SFO) or area postrema (AP). Although WD increased BP in SFOx and SFOsham rats, no significant difference in the hypertensive response was observed between groups. HR decreased transiently but similarly in SFOx and SFOsham rats during the first 24 h of WD. When water was reintroduced, BP and HR decreased rapidly and similarly in both groups. BP (during lights off) and HR were both lower in APx rats before WD compared to APsham. WD increased BP less in APx rats, and the transient bradycardia was eliminated. Upon reintroduction of drinking water, smaller falls in both BP and HR were observed in APx rats compared to APsham rats. WD increased plasma osmolality and vasopressin levels similarly in APx and APsham rats, and acute blockade of systemic V1 vasopressin receptors elicited similar depressor responses, suggesting that the attenuated BP response is not due to smaller increases in vasopressin or osmolality. In conclusion, the AP, but not the SFO, is required for the maximal hypertensive effect induced by WD in rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00191
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIH HL088552 and a Grant-in-Aid from the American Heart Association.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 The Authors.


  • Area postrema
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Subfornical organ
  • Water deprivation


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