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Open Access Research article

Orchiectomy or androgen receptor blockade attenuates baroreflex-mediated bradycardia in conscious rats

Gregg R Ward and Abdel A Abdel-Rahman*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pharmacology, The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, 27858, USA

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BMC Pharmacology 2006, 6:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2210-6-2

Published: 23 January 2006

Abstract

Background

Previous studies have shown that testosterone enhances baroreflex bradycardia. Therefore, conscious unrestrained rats were used to investigate the role of the androgen receptor in the testosterone-mediated modulation of baroreflex bradycardia. Androgen depletion (3 weeks), and androgen receptor blockade (20–24 h), were implemented to test the hypothesis that testosterone influences baroreflex bradycardia via its activity at the androgen receptor in male rats. Phenylephrine (1–16 μg kg-1) was used to assess baroreflex bradycardia.

Results

Androgen depletion attenuated baroreflex bradycardia (P < 0.01). The antiandrogen flutamide (5, 15, or 30 mg kg-1, s.c.) caused dose-related attenuation of baroreflex bradycardia in spite of a significant (P < 0.05) increase in serum testosterone. The latter did not lead to increased serum 17β-estradiol level.

Conclusion

The data suggest: 1) Androgen depletion or adequate androgen receptor blockade attenuates baroreflex bradycardia. 2) The reflex increase in serum testosterone may counterbalance the action of the lower doses (5 or 15 mg kg-1) of flutamide. 3) The absence of a change in serum 17β-estradiol rules out its contribution to flutamide action on baroreflex bradycardia.