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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3256325, 7 pages
Research Article

The Cardiovascular Effect of Systemic Homocysteine Is Associated with Oxidative Stress in the Rostral Ventrolateral Medulla

1Medical Training Center of Songjiang District, Shanghai 201620, China
2Department of Medicine, Sijing Hospital, Shanghai 201601, China
3Department of Nursing, Wuxi Higher Health Vocational Technology School, Wuxi 214028, China
4Department of Physiology and Center of Polar Medical Research, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Wei-Zhong Wang; moc.liamtoh@86zwgnaw

Received 30 June 2017; Accepted 15 August 2017; Published 29 September 2017

Academic Editor: Sheng Wang

Copyright © 2017 Mei-Fang Zhong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It has been demonstrated that homocysteine (HCY) is a significant risk factor of hypertension, which is characterized by overactivity of sympathetic tone. Excessive oxidative stress in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM), a key region for control of sympathetic outflow, contributes to sympathetic hyperactivity in hypertension. Therefore, the goal of the present study is to determine the effect of systemic HCY on production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the RVLM. In the rat model of the diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemia (L-methionine, 1 g/kg/day, 8 weeks), we found that the HCY resulted in a significant increase (≈3.7-fold, ) in ROS production in the RVLM, which was paralleled with enhanced sympathetic tone and blood pressure (BP). Compared to the vehicle group, levels of BP and basal renal sympathetic nerve activity in the HCY group were significantly (, ) increased by an average of 27 mmHg and 31%, respectively. Furthermore, the rats treated with L-methionine (1 g/kg/day, 8 weeks) showed an upregulation of NADPHase (NOX4) protein expression and a downregulation of superoxide dismutase protein expression in the RVLM. The current data suggest that central oxidative stress induced by systemic HCY plays an important role in hypertension-associated sympathetic overactivity.