P2X receptor-mediated muscle pressor reflex in myocardial infarction

Zhaohui Gao, Jihong Xing, Lawrence Sinoway, Jianhua Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A previous report from this laboratory demonstrated that the ATP-sensitive P2X receptor-mediated muscle pressor reflex was augmented in rats with heart failure (HF). The purpose of this study was to better understand the underlying mechanisms for this greater response in HF rats. We examined 1) responsiveness of the P2X receptor to α,β-methylene ATP (α,β-me-ATP), a P2X receptor agonist, in control and HF rats induced by myocardial infarction (MI); 2) the relationship between P2X-induced blood pressure response and left ventricular (LV) function; and 3) the expression of P2X receptors in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) of control rats and rats with HF. Eight to 14 wk after coronary artery ligation, the severity of the MI was determined by echocardiography. In the first group of the experiment, α,β-me-ATP (0.0625, 0.125, 0.25, and 0.5 mM) was injected into the arterial blood supply of the hindlimb muscles to evoke a pressor response in 17 decerebrated rats (6 controls, 6 small MIs with infarcts of the LV between 10 and 35%, and 5 large MIs with infarcts >35%). The P2X agonist increased blood pressure, and the effect was significantly accentuated in large MI rats compared with small MI rats and control rats. A significant correlation was observed between α,β-me-ATP-evoked pressor response and the LV fractional shortening, an index of LV function. In the second group of the experiment, immunocytochemistry was used to examine the immunoreactivity of P2X receptor in the DRG neurons of small diameter fibers in six healthy control rats, five small MI, and five large MI rats. The percentage of P2X immunostaining-positive neurons in the DRG was markedly greater in large MI rats (52% vs. 29% in controls and 34% in small MIs, P < 0.05). In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that 1) muscle afferent-mediated pressor response of P2X activation was exaggerated in MI animals, and the responsiveness was related to the degree of LV dysfunction; and 2) augmented reflex response was associated with upregulated P2X receptors in the DRG neurons of thin fiber afferent nerves following MI. The data suggest that P2X-mediated responsiveness in the processing of muscle afferent signals may have important implications for understanding cardiovascular responses to exercise in HF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H939-H945
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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