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In this study, we aimed to investigate the sustainable antihypertensive effects and protection against target organ damage caused by low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) stimulation and the underlying mechanism in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) model. SHRs were treated with ultrasound stimulation of the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (VlPAG) for 20 min every day for 2 months. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was compared among normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats, SHR control group, SHR Sham group, and SHR LIFU stimulation group. Cardiac ultrasound imaging and hematoxylin-eosin and Masson staining of the heart and kidney were performed to assess target organ damage. The c-fos immunofluorescence analysis and plasma levels of angiotensin II, aldosterone, hydrocortisone, and endothelin-1 were measured to investigate the neurohumoral and organ systems involved. We found that SBP was reduced from 172 ± 4.2 mmHg to 141 ± 2.1 mmHg after 1 month of LIFU stimulation, P  < 0.01. The next month of treatment can maintain the rat's blood pressure at 146 ± 4.2 mmHg at the end of the experiment. LIFU stimulation reverses left ventricular hypertrophy and improves heart and kidney function. Furthermore, LIFU stimulation enhanced the neural activity from the VLPAG to the caudal ventrolateral medulla and reduced the plasma levels of ANGII and Aldo. We concluded that LIFU stimulation has a sustainable antihypertensive effect and protects against target organ damage by activating antihypertensive neural pathways from VLPAG to the caudal ventrolateral medulla and further inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) activity, thereby supporting a novel and noninvasive alternative therapy to treat hypertension. Copyright © 2023 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Dapeng Li, Fangyuan Cao, Jie Han, Mengke Wang, Chunhao Lai, Jingjing Zhang, Tianqi Xu, Ayache Bouakaz, Mingxi Wan, Pengyu Ren, Siyuan Zhang. The sustainable antihypertensive and target organ damage protective effect of transcranial focused ultrasound stimulation in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Journal of hypertension. 2023 May 01;41(5):852-866

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PMID: 36883470

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