Increased glutamatergic input in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) plays an important role in the development of hypertension. Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors are expressed in the PVN, but their involvement in regulating synaptic transmission and sympathetic outflow in hypertension is unclear. Here, we show that the group II metabotropic glutamate receptors agonist (2S,2'R,3'R)-2-(2',3'-dicarboxycyclopropyl)glycine (DCG-IV) produced a significantly greater reduction in the frequency of spontaneous and miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents and in the amplitude of electrically evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents in retrogradely labeled spinally projecting PVN neurons in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) than in normotensive control rats. DCG-IV similarly decreased the frequency of GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic currents of labeled PVN neurons in the 2 groups of rats. Strikingly, DCG-IV suppressed the firing of labeled PVN neurons only in SHRs. DCG-IV failed to inhibit the firing of PVN neurons of SHRs in the presence of ionotropic glutamate receptor antagonists. Lowering blood pressure with celiac ganglionectomy in SHRs normalized the DCG-IV effect on excitatory postsynaptic currents to the same level seen in control rats. Furthermore, microinjection of DCG-IV into the PVN significantly reduced blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity in SHRs. Our findings provide new information that presynaptic group II metabotropic glutamate receptor activity at the glutamatergic terminals increases in the PVN in SHRs. Activation of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors in the PVN inhibits sympathetic vasomotor tone through attenuation of increased glutamatergic input and neuronal hyperactivity in SHRs.
Keywords: hypertension; hypothalamus; receptors, glutamate; sympathetic nervous system; synaptic transmission.