Impaired ventilatory acclimatization to hypoxia in female mice overexpressing erythropoietin: unexpected deleterious effect of estradiol in carotid bodies.

Abstract

Apart from enhancing the production of red blood cells, erythropoietin (Epo) alters the ventilatory response when oxygen supply is reduced. We recently demonstrated that Epo's beneficial effect on the ventilatory response to acute hypoxia is sex dependent, with female mice being better able to cope with reduced oxygenation. In the present work, we hypothesized that ventilatory acclimatization to chronic hypoxia (VAH) in transgenic female mice (Tg6) harboring high levels of Epo in the brain and blood will also be improved compared with wild-type (WT) animals. Surprisingly, VAH was blunted in Tg6 female mice. To define whether this phenomenon had a central (brain stem respiratory centers) and/or peripheral (carotid bodies) origin, a bilateral transection of carotid sinus nerve (chemodenervation) was performed. This procedure allowed the analysis of the central response in the absence of carotid body information. Interestingly, chemodenervation restored the VAH in Tg6 mice, suggesting that carotid bodies were responsible for the blunted response. Coherently with this observation, the sensitivity to oxygen alteration in arterial blood (Dejour test) after chronic hypoxia was lower in transgenic carotid bodies compared with the WT control. As blunted VAH occurred in female but not male transgenic mice, the involvement of sex female steroids was obvious. Indeed, measurement of sexual female hormones revealed that the estradiol serum level was 4 times higher in transgenic mice Tg6 than in WT animals. While ovariectomy decreased VAH in WT females, this treatment restored VAH in Tg6 female mice. In line with this observation, injections of estradiol in ovariectomized Tg6 females dramatically reduced the VAH. We concluded that during chronic hypoxia, estradiol in carotid bodies suppresses the Epo-mediated elevation of ventilation. Considering the increased application of recombinant Epo for a variety of disorders, our data imply the need to take the patient's hormonal status into consideration.

DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00205.2010

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Cite this paper

@article{Gassmann2010ImpairedVA, title={Impaired ventilatory acclimatization to hypoxia in female mice overexpressing erythropoietin: unexpected deleterious effect of estradiol in carotid bodies.}, author={Max Gassmann and Christine Pfistner and Van Diep Doan and Johannes Vogel and Jorge Soliz}, journal={American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology}, year={2010}, volume={299 6}, pages={R1511-20} }