DNA methylation in the central and efferent limbs of the chemoreflex requires carotid body neural activity

Jayasri Nanduri, Ying Jie Peng, Ning Wang, Shakil A. Khan, Gregg L Semenza, Nanduri R. Prabhakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Key points: The mechanisms underlying long-term (30 days) intermittent hypoxia (LT-IH)-evoked DNA methylation of anti-oxidant enzyme (AOE) gene repression in the carotid body (CB) reflex pathway were examined. LT-IH-treated rats showed increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in the CB reflex pathway. Administration of a ROS scavenger or CB ablation blocked LT-IH-evoked DNA methylation and AOE gene repression in the central and efferent limbs of the CB reflex. LT-IH increased DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt) activity through upregulation of Dnmt1 and 3b proteins by ROS-dependent inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) by Akt. A pan-Akt inhibitor prevented LT-IH-induced GSK3β inactivation, elevated Dnmt protein expression and activity, AOE gene methylation, sympathetic activation and hypertension. Long-term exposure to intermittent hypoxia (LT-IH; 30 days), simulating blood O2 profiles during sleep apnoea, has been shown to repress anti-oxidant enzyme (AOE) gene expression by DNA methylation in the carotid body (CB) reflex pathway, resulting in persistent elevation of plasma catecholamine levels and blood pressure. The present study examined the mechanisms by which LT-IH induces DNA methylation. Adult rats exposed to LT-IH showed elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the CB, nucleus tractus solitarius (nTS) and rostroventrolateral medulla (RVLM) and adrenal medulla (AM), which represent the central and efferent limbs of the CB reflex, respectively. ROS scavenger treatment during the first ten days of IH exposure prevented ROS accumulation, blocked DNA methylation, and normalized AOE gene expression, suggesting that ROS generated during the early stages of IH activate DNA methylation. CB ablation prevented the ROS accumulation, normalized AOE gene expression in the nTS, RVLM, and AM and blocked DNA methylation, suggesting that LT-IH-induced DNA methylation in the central and efferent limbs of the CB reflex is indirect and requires CB neural activity. LT-IH increased DNA methyl transferase (Dnmt) activity through upregulation of Dnmt1 and 3b protein expression due to ROS-dependent inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) by protein kinase B (Akt). Treating rats with the pan-Akt inhibitor GSK690693 blocked the induction of Dnmt activity, Dnmt protein expression, and DNA methylation, leading to normalization of AOE gene expression as well as plasma catecholamine levels and blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Physiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Anti-oxidant enzymes
  • Blood pressure
  • DNA methyltransferases
  • GSK3β
  • Intermittent hypoxia
  • Sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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