Fos expression in brain stem nuclei of pregnant rats after hydralazine- induced hypotension

Kathleen S. Curtis, J. Thomas Cunningham, Cheryl M. Heesch

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Fos and dopamine β-hydroxylase immunoreactivity were evaluated in the brain stems of 21-day pregnant and virgin female rats injected with either hydralazine (HDZ; 10 mg/kg iv) or vehicle. HDZ produced significant hypotension in both groups, although baseline blood pressure was lower in pregnant rats (96 ± 2.5 mmHg) than in virgin female rats (121 ± 2.8 mmHg). There were no differences in Fos immunoreactivity in the brain stems of pregnant and virgin female rats after vehicle treatment. HDZ-induced hypotension significantly increased Fos expression in both groups; however, the magnitude of the increases differed in the caudal ventrolateral medulla (CVL), the area postrema (AP), and the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVL). Fos expression after HDZ in pregnant rats was augmented in noncatecholaminergic neurons of the CVL but was attenuated in the AP and in noncatecholaminergic neurons in the RVL. These results are consistent with differences in the sympathetic response to hypotension between pregnant and virgin female rats and indicate that the central response to hypotension may be different in pregnant rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R532-R540
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2 46-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1999



  • Baroreflex
  • Sympathetic activation

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