Background/Aims: Published data suggest that purinergic P2X receptors of muscle afferent nerves contribute to the enhanced sympathetic nervous activity (SNA) and blood pressure (BP) responses during static exercise in heart failure (HF). In this study, we examined engagement of bradykinin (BK) in regulating responses of SNA and BP evoked by P2X stimulation in rats with HF. We further examined cellular mechanisms responsible for BK. We hypothesized that BK potentiates P2X currents of muscle dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, and this effect is greater in HF due to upregulation of BK kinin B 2 and P2X 3 receptor. As a result, BK amplifies muscle afferents P2X-mediated SNA and BP responses. Methods: Renal SNA and BP responses were recorded in control rats and rats with HF. Western Blot analysis and patch-clamp methods were employed to examine the receptor expression and function of DRG neurons involved in the effects of BK. Results: BK injected into the arterial blood supply of the hindlimb muscles heightened the reflex SNA and BP responses induced by P2X activation with α,β-methylene ATP to a greater degree in HF rats. In addition, HF upregulated the protein expression of kinin B 2 and P2X 3 in DRG and the prior application of BK increased the magnitude of α,β-methylene ATP-induced currents in muscle DRG neurons from HF rats. Conclusion: BK plays a facilitating role in modulating muscle afferent P2X-engaged reflex sympathetic and pressor responses. In HF, P2X responsivness is augmented due to increases in expression of kinin B 2 and P2X 3 receptors and P2X current activity.
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