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Hypertension. 2012 Feb;59(2):331-8. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.185074. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

Systemic and renal-specific sympathoinhibition in obesity hypertension.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State St, Jackson, MS 39216-4505, USA.


Chronic pressure-mediated baroreflex activation suppresses renal sympathetic nerve activity. Recent observations indicate that chronic electric activation of the carotid baroreflex produces sustained reductions in global sympathetic activity and arterial pressure. Thus, we investigated the effects of global and renal specific suppression of sympathetic activity in dogs with sympathetically mediated, obesity-induced hypertension by comparing the cardiovascular, renal, and neurohormonal responses to chronic baroreflex activation and bilateral surgical renal denervation. After control measurements, the diet was supplemented with beef fat, whereas sodium intake was held constant. After 4 weeks on the high-fat diet, when body weight had increased ≈50%, fat intake was reduced to a level that maintained this body weight. This weight increase was associated with an increase in mean arterial pressure from 100±2 to 117±3 mm Hg and heart rate from 86±3 to 130±4 bpm. The hypertension was associated with a marked increase in cumulative sodium balance despite an approximately 35% increase in glomerular filtration rate. The importance of increased tubular reabsorption to sodium retention was further reflected by ≈35% decrease in fractional sodium excretion. Subsequently, both chronic baroreflex activation (7 days) and renal denervation decreased plasma renin activity and abolished the hypertension. However, baroreflex activation also suppressed systemic sympathetic activity and tachycardia and reduced glomerular hyperfiltration while increasing fractional sodium excretion. In contrast, glomerular filtration rate increased further after renal denervation. Thus, by improving autonomic control of cardiac function and diminishing glomerular hyperfiltration, suppression of global sympathetic activity by baroreflex activation may have beneficial effects in obesity beyond simply attenuating hypertension.

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