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Kidney Int. 2007 Dec;72(12):1483-92. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

Thiazide-induced subtle renal injury not observed in states of equivalent hypokalemia.

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Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Transplantation, Department of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, USA.


Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) is used to manage hypertension and heart failure; however, its side effects include mild hypokalemia, metabolic abnormalities, and volume depletion, which might have deleterious effects on renal and endothelial function. We studied whether HCTZ cause renal injury and/or altered vasoreactivity and if these changes are hypokalemia-dependent. Rats were given a normal diet or a diet moderately low in potassium K+ with or without HCTZ. Animals fed either a low K+ diet alone or HCTZ developed mild hypokalemia. There was no significant difference in systolic blood pressure in the different treatment groups. All three groups with hypokalemia had mild proteinuria; low K(+)-HCTZ rats had reduced creatinine clearance. HCTZ-treated rats displayed hypomagnesemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and hyperaldosteronism. No renal injury was observed in the groups without HCTZ; however, increased kidney weight, glomerular ischemia, medullary injury, and cortical oxidative stress were seen with HCTZ treatment. Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation was reduced in all hypokalemic groups and correlated with reduced serum K+, serum, and urine nitric oxide. Our results show that HCTZ is associated with greater renal injury for the same degree of hypokalemia as the low K+ diet, suggesting that factors such as chronic ischemia and hyperaldosteronism due to volume depletion may be responsible agents. We also found impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation was linked to mild hypokalemia.

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