Estrogen receptor beta activity contributes to both tumor necrosis factor alpha expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and the resistance to hypertension following angiotensin II in female mice

Neurochem Int. 2022 Dec:161:105420. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2022.105420. Epub 2022 Sep 25.


Sex differences in the sensitivity to hypertension and inflammatory processes are well characterized but insufficiently understood. In male mice, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) contributes to hypertension following slow-pressor angiotensin II (AngII) infusion. However, the role of PVN TNFα in the response to AngII in female mice is unknown. Using a combination of in situ hybridization, high-resolution electron microscopic immunohistochemistry, spatial-temporal gene silencing, and dihydroethidium microfluorography we investigated the influence of AngII on both blood pressure and PVN TNFα signaling in female mice. We found that chronic (14-day) infusion of AngII in female mice did not impact blood pressure, TNFα levels, the expression of the TNFα type 1 receptor (TNFR1), or the subcellular distribution of TNFR1 in the PVN. However, it was shown that blockade of estrogen receptor β (ERβ), a major hypothalamic estrogen receptor, was accompanied by both elevated PVN TNFα and hypertension following AngII. Further, AngII hypertension following ERβ blockade was attenuated by inhibiting PVN TNFα signaling by local TNFR1 silencing. It was also shown that ERβ blockade in isolated PVN-spinal cord projection neurons (i.e. sympathoexcitatory) heightened TNFα-induced production of NADPH oxidase (NOX2)-mediated reactive oxygen species, molecules that may play a key role in mediating the effect of TNFα in hypertension. These results indicate that ERβ contributes to the reduced sensitivity of female mice to hypothalamic inflammatory cytokine signaling and hypertension in response to AngII.

Keywords: Blood pressure; Inflammatory cytokine; NADPH oxidase; Reactive oxygen species; Sex differences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / adverse effects
  • Angiotensin II / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / genetics
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / metabolism
  • Female
  • Hypertension* / chemically induced
  • Hypertension* / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus* / metabolism
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus* / pathology
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus* / ultrastructure
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I / adverse effects
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Angiotensin II
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I