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Am J Physiol. 1998 Oct;275(4 Pt 2):H1130-7.

Cardiovascular, endocrine, and body fluid-electrolyte responses to salt loading in mRen-2 transgenic rats.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and The Hypertension Center, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1083, USA.


We previously demonstrated that mRen-2 transgenic [Tg(+)] rats are sensitive to chronic high NaCl intake, showing increased arterial pressure and vasopressin (VP) secretion. In this study, we determined the effect of a chronic osmotic challenge, 4 days of drinking 2% NaCl, on direct arterial blood pressure, heart rate, fluid-electrolyte balance, circadian rhythm of mean arterial pressure (MAP), and changes in plasma VP and catecholamines. Under baseline conditions, male Tg(+) rats showed a significant shift in the peak in circadian MAP into the light portion of the day-night cycle. Substitution of 2% NaCl for drinking water caused a rapid increase in MAP, 20 +/- 5 mmHg in Tg(+) rats within 6 h. Whereas the amplitude of circadian MAP fluctuations increased in salt-loaded Tg(+) rats, there was no significant change in the circadian timing of peak MAP with salt loading. Tg(+) rats showed exaggerated osmotic-induced increases in plasma VP, norepinephrine (NE), and epinephrine (Epi) compared with Tg(-) rats. Plasma NE and Epi were increased two- and fourfold, respectively, in the hypertensive rats with no significant change in the Tg(-) rats. Intravenous administration of a VP antagonist did not alter arterial pressure in either Tg(+) or Tg(-) rats. Tg(+) and Tg(-) rats showed a positive sodium balance with no significant difference observed between the groups. Tg(+) rats showed a significant increase in salt consumption, plasma sodium, osmolality, and hematocrit, accompanied by a negative water balance. We conclude that Tg(+) rats are sensitive to acute and chronic osmotic stimuli in terms of blood pressure, fluid-electrolyte balance, and plasma VP and catecholamines. Whereas elevated plasma VP does not contribute to the hypertensive response, increased sympathetic drive may mediate the salt-induced blood pressure changes in this model.

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