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J Hypertens. 1984 Oct;2(5):507-14.

The antihypertensive effect of calorie restriction in obese adolescents: dissociation of effects on erythrocyte countertransport and cotransport.


Measures of maximal rates of lithium-sodium countertransport and frusemide-sensitive sodium and potassium cotransport have been proposed as biochemical markers for human essential hypertension. The stability of these functions over time within the same individuals has led to the suggestion that maximal transport capacities are genetically determined. The present study confirms the reproducibility of functional assays of countertransport and cotransport in human erythrocytes after overnight storage and over a six-month period in normal volunteers and provides estimates of the magnitude of technical error for each assay. A long-term dietary intervention study in a group of obese adolescents demonstrated marked increases in erythrocyte sodium levels and maximal frusemide-sensitive sodium and potassium fluxes but no changes in cell potassium or water and no effect on lithium-sodium countertransport. A correlation between the decrease in percentage of body fat and the increase in cell sodium content suggests a link between the metabolic effects of dieting and control of erythrocyte cation handling. Although the mechanism linking dietary calorie restriction and changes in erythrocyte cation metabolism is unknown, evaluation of body weight, and especially recent weight loss, is important in studies of erythrocyte transport. Conclusions regarding genetic contributions to the activities of lithium-sodium countertransport and sodium-potassium cotransport systems will be strengthened by clarification of environmental regulators.

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