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Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology; Health Research Institute; Department of Chemistry


Neuroinflammation and brain oxidative stress are recognized as significant contributors to hypertension including salt sensitive hypertension. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) play an essential role in intercellular communication in various situations, including physiological and pathological ones. Based on this evidence, we hypothesized that EVs derived from the brains of hypertensive rats with salt sensitivity could trigger neuroinflammation and oxidative stress during hypertension development. To test this hypothesis, we compared the impact of EVs isolated from the brains of hypertensive Dahl Salt-Sensitive rats (DSS) and normotensive Sprague Dawley (SD) rats on inflammatory factors and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) production in primary neuronal cultures and brain cardiovascular relevant regions, including the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and lamina terminalis (LT). We found that brain-derived DSS-EVs significantly increased the mRNA levels of proinflammatory cytokines (PICs) and chemokines, including TNFα, IL1β, CCL2, CCL5, and CCL12, as well as the transcriptional factor NF-κB in neuronal cultures. DSS-EVs also induced oxidative stress in neuronal cultures, as evidenced by elevated NADPH oxidase subunit CYBA coding gene mRNA levels and persistent mtROS elevation. When DSS-EVs were injected into the brains of normal SD rats, the mRNA levels of PICs, chemokines, and the chronic neuronal activity marker FOSL1 were significantly increased in the PVN and LT. Furthermore, DSS-EVs caused mtROS elevation in brain PVN and LT, particularly in neurons. Our study reveals a novel role for brain-derived EVs from hypertensive rats in triggering neuroinflammation, upregulating chemokine expression, and inducing excessive ROS production. These findings provide insight into the complex interactions between EVs and hypertension-associated processes, offering potential therapeutic targets for hypertension-linked neurological complications.

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