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Am J Hypertens. 2001 Apr;14(4 Pt 1):311-20.

Differential salt-sensitivity in the pathogenesis of renal damage in SHR and stroke prone SHR.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Loyola University and Hines VA Hospital, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.


The spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) and the stroke prone SHR (SHRsp) display contrasting susceptibilities to the development of the severe hypertensive lesions of malignant nephrosclerosis, both with aging and after the provision of a high salt intake on the background of a Japanese style "stroke prone" rodent diet. The SHR is relatively resistant, whereas the SHRsp is markedly susceptible. The responsible mechanisms remain controversial. Blood pressure (BP) radiotelemetry was used to investigate the interrelationship between salt intake, systolic BP, and renal damage in 8- to 12-week-old male SHR and SHRsp given a standard North American style diet for 6 weeks, a standard diet plus 1% NaCl as drinking water for 6 weeks, or an 8% NaCl diet plus tap water for 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, BP was significantly greater in the SHRsp compared to the SHR and was significantly more sensitive to supplemental salt in the SHRsp than in SHR. Average systolic pressures during week 5 (after 4 weeks on standard diet plus tap water, standard diet plus 1% NaCl, and 8% NaCl diet plus tap water) were 188.0 +/- 3.0 mm Hg, 207.3 +/- 5.6 mm Hg, and 226 +/- 9.4 mm Hg in SHRsp compared with 171.4 +/- 3.8 mm Hg, 180.6 +/- 3.8 mm Hg, and 190.3 +/- 5.0 mm Hg in SHR. In the absence of supplemental NaCl, both strains exhibited minimal evidence of hypertensive renal damage until about 16 weeks of age. A high salt intake resulted in the development of lesions of malignant nephrosclerosis (fibrinoid necrosis and thrombosis of small vessels and glomeruli) in the SHRsp but not in the SHR; semiquantitative histologic renal damage scores in SHRsp versus SHR being 10.4 +/- 2.0 versus 0.7 +/- 0.2 after 6 weeks of standard diet plus 1% NaCl, and 32.1 +/- 2.5 versus 0.7 +/- 0.4 after 4 weeks of 8% NaCl diet plus tap water; P < .001 for both comparisons. The development of more severe hypertension in salt-supplemented SHRsp could only partly account for the severity of renal damage in SHRsp, the increase in which was disproportionate to the increase in absolute BP. However, the rate of increase of BP was greater in the SHRsp and this might have contributed to the greater renal damage observed in the SHRsp. These data indicate that the contrasting genetic susceptibility to renal damage between SHR and SHRsp is mediated, at least in part, by a differential BP salt sensitivity.

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