The objective of the present study was to examine the effects of intermittent hypoxia (IH) and sustained hypoxia (SH) on hypoxia-evoked catecholamine (CA) secretion from chromaffin cells in neonatal rats and assess the underlying mechanism(s). Experiments were performed on rat pups exposed to either IH (15-s hypoxia/5-min normoxia; 8 h/day) or SH (hypobaric hypoxia, 0.4 atm) or normoxia (controls) from P0 to P5. IH treatment facilitated hypoxia-evoked CA secretion and elevations in the intracellular calcium ion concentration ([Ca2+]i) and these responses were attenuated, but not abolished, by treatments designed to eliminate Ca2+ flux into cells (Ca2+-free medium or Cd2+), indicating that intracellular Ca2+ stores were augmented by IH. Norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (E) levels of adrenal medullae were elevated in IH-treated pups. IH treatment increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in adrenal medullae and antioxidant treatment prevented IH-induced facilitation of CA secretion, elevations in [Ca2+]i by hypoxia, and the up-regulation of NE and E. The effects of neonatal IH treatment on hypoxia-induced CA secretion and elevation in [Ca2+]i, CA, and ROS levels persisted in rats reared under normoxia for >30 days. In striking contrast, chromaffin cells from SH-treated animals exhibited attenuated hypoxia-evoked CA secretion. In SH-treated cells hypoxia-evoked elevations in [Ca2+]i, NE and E contents, and ROS levels were comparable with controls. These observations demonstrate that: 1) neonatal IH and SH evoke opposite effects on hypoxia-evoked CA secretion from chromaffin cells, 2) ROS signaling mediates the faciltatory effects of IH, and 3) the effects of neonatal IH on chromaffin cells persist into adult life.
- Copyright © 2009 the American Physiological Society