Reactive oxygen species contribute to sleep apnea-induced hypertension in rats.
1Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.
In clinical studies, sleep apnea is associated with hypertension, oxidative stress, and increased circulating endothelin-1 (ET-1). We previously developed a model of sleep apnea by exposing rats to eucapnic intermittent hypoxia (IH-C) during sleep, which increases both blood pressure and plasma levels of ET-1. Because similar protocols in mice increase tissue and plasma markers of oxidative stress, we hypothesized that IH-C generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contributes to the development of ET-1-dependent hypertension in IH-C rats. To test this, male Sprague-Dawley rats were instrumented with indwelling blood pressure telemeters and drank either plain water or water containing the superoxide dismutase mimetic, Tempol (4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-piperidine-1-oxyl, 1 mM). Mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) were recorded for 3 control days and 14 treatment days with rats exposed 7 h/day to IH-C or air/air cycling (Sham). On day 14, MAP in IH-C rats treated with Tempol (107 +/- 2.29 mmHg) was significantly lower than in untreated IH-C rats (118 +/- 9 mmHg, P < 0.05). Tempol did not affect blood pressure in sham-operated rats (Tempol = 101 +/- 3, water = 101 +/- 2 mmHg). Immunoreactive ET-1 was greater in plasma from IH-C rats compared with plasma from sham-operated rats but was not different from Sham in Tempol-treated IH-C rats. Small mesenteric arteries from IH-C rats but not Tempol-treated IH-C rats had increased superoxide levels as measured by ferric cytochrome c reduction, lucigenin signaling, and dihydroethidium fluorescence. The data show that IH-C increases ET-1 production and vascular ROS levels and that scavenging superoxide prevents both. Thus oxidative stress appears to contribute to increases in ET-1 production and elevated arterial pressure in this rat model of sleep apnea-induced hypertension.