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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2001 May;280(5):R1534-45.

Long-term control of renal blood flow: what is the role of the renal nerves?

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Circulatory Control Laboratory, Department of Physiology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


We have developed a system for long-term continuous monitoring of cardiovascular parameters in rabbits living in their home cage to assess what role renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) has in regulating renal blood flow (RBF) in daily life. Blood pressure, heart rate, locomotor activity, RSNA, and RBF were recorded continuously for 4 wk. Beginning 4-5 days after surgery a circadian rhythm, dependent on feeding time, was observed. When averaged over all days RBF to the innervated and denervated kidneys was not significantly different. However, control of RBF around these mean levels was dependent on the presence of the renal sympathetic nerves. In particular we observed episodic elevations in heart rate and other parameters associated with activity. In the denervated kidney, during these episodic elevations, the increase in renal resistance was closely related to the increase in arterial pressure. In the innervated kidney the renal resistance response was significantly more variable, indicating an interaction of the sympathetic nervous system. These results indicate that whereas overall levels of RSNA do not set the mean level of RBF the renal vasculature is sensitive to episodic increases in sympathetic nerve activity.

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