Epididymal Fat-Derived Sympathoexcitatory Signals Exacerbate Neurogenic Hypertension in Obese Male Mice Exposed to Early Life Stress

Carolina Dalmasso, Jacqueline R. Leachman, Sundus Ghuneim, Nermin Ahmed, Eve R. Schneider, Olivier Thibault, Jeffrey L. Osborn, Analia S. Loria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Previously, we have shown that male mice exposed to maternal separation and early weaning (MSEW) - a mouse model of early life stress - display increased mean arterial pressure compared with controls when fed a high-fat diet. As the stimulation of sensory nerves from fat has been shown to trigger the adipose afferent reflex, we tested whether MSEW male mice show obesity-associated hypertension via the hyperactivation of this sympathoexcitatory mechanism. After 16 weeks on high-fat diet, MSEW mice displayed increased blood pressure, sympathetic activation, and greater depressor response to an α-adrenergic blocker when compared with controls (P<0.05; n=8), despite no differences in adiposity and plasma leptin. The acute infusion of capsaicin in epididymal white adipose tissue (1.5 pmol/μL of capsaicin, 8 μL/per site, 4 sites, bilaterally) increased the total pressor response in MSEW mice compared with controls (110±19 versus 284±33 mm Hg×30 minutes; P<0.05; n=8). This response was associated with neuronal activation in OVLT, posterior paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, and RVLM (P<0.05 versus control; n=6-7). Renal denervation abolished both the acute and chronic elevated mean arterial pressure in obese MSEW mice. Moreover, selective sensory denervation of epididymal white adipose tissue using resiniferatoxin (10 pmol/µL solution; n=6) decreased mean arterial pressure in obese MSEW mice only (P<0.05 versus control). Obese MSEW mice displayed increased epididymal white adipose tissue levels of both tryptophan hydroxylase (Tph1) mRNA expression and its synthesis product serotonin (8.3±1.9 versus 16.6±1.7 ug/mg tissue; P<0.05 versus control). Thus, afferent sensory signals from epididymal white adipose tissue may contribute to the exacerbated fat-brain-blood pressure axis displayed by obese male mice exposed to early life stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1434-1449
Number of pages16
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01135158 to ASL), the Kentucky Center of Research in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease COBRE (P20 GM103527), Light Microscopy Core at the University of Kentucky is, in part, supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • adiposity
  • blood pressure
  • capsaicin
  • leptin
  • serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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