Intermittent hypoxia (IH) associated with recurrent apneas often leads to cardiovascular abnormalities. Previously, we showed that IH treatment elevates blood pressure and increases plasma catecholamines (CAs) in rats via reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent enhanced synthesis and secretion from the adrenal medulla (AM). Neuropeptide Y (NPY), a sympathetic neurotransmitter that colocalizes with CA in the AM, has been implicated in blood pressure regulation during persistent stress. Here, we investigated whether IH facilitates NPY synthesis in the rat AM and assessed the role of ROS signaling. IH increased NPY-like immunoreactivity in many dopamine-β-hydroxylase–expressing chromaffin cells with a parallel increase in preproNPY mRNA and protein. IH increased the activities of proNPY-processing enzymes, which were due, in part, to elevated protein expression and increased proteolytic processing. IH increased ROS generation, and antioxidants reversed IH-induced increases in ROS, preproNPY, and its processing to bioactive NPY in the AM. IH treatment increased blood pressure and antioxidants and inhibition of NPY amidation prevented this response. These findings suggest that IH-induced elevation in NPY expression in the rat AM is mediated by ROS-dependent augmentation of preproNPY mRNA expression and proNPY-processing enzyme activities and contributes to IH-induced elevation of blood pressure. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 14, 1179–1190
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