Multifiber renal afferent nerve activity responds to volume expansion in sea level rats but not in chronically hypoxic (high altitude) rats. We performed single-unit recordings of renal afferent nerve activity to characterize renal sensory receptors and their responses to volume expansion in these animals. Hypoxia was induced by placing Wistar rats in an altitude chamber (380 Torr, 5,500 m) for 4 wk. Spontaneously firing renal R2 chemoreceptor and arterial, ureteropelvic, and venous mechanoreceptors were identified. The basal activity of each receptor was similar among these rats. In response to specific stimulus, the increasing impulse of R2 chemoreceptor was similar between two groups of rats, but the increasing activity of each mechanoreceptor was less in hypoxic rats. When challenged with saline load, R2 chemoreceptor activity decreased, but all mechanoreceptors activated in all rats. Despite similar increases of arterial, renal ureteropelvic, and venous pressure during saline load, the increasing activity of each mechanoreceptor was significantly less in hypoxic rats. These results indicated chronic hypoxia attenuates the sensitivity of renal mechanoreceptors in response to the stimulation of saline load.
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