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Hypertension. 2013 Apr;61(4):806-11. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.00474. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Reversal of genetic salt-sensitive hypertension by targeted sympathetic ablation.

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Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


The sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in some forms of human hypertension as well as the Dahl salt-sensitive rat model of hypertension; however, the sympathetic targets involved remain unclear. To address this, we examined the role of the renal and splanchnic sympathetic nerves in Dahl hypertension by performing sham surgery (n=10) or targeted sympathetic ablation of the renal nerves (renal denervation, n=11), the splanchnic nerves (celiac ganglionectomy, n=11), or both renal and splanchnic nerves (n=11) in hypertensive Dahl rats. Mean arterial pressure increased from ≈120 mm Hg, while on a 0.1% sodium chloride diet, to ≈140 mm Hg after being fed a 4.0% sodium chloride diet for 3 weeks. At that point, rats underwent sham or targeted sympathetic ablation. Four weeks after treatment, mean arterial pressure was lower in renal denervated (150.4±10.4) and celiac ganglionectomized (147.0±6.1) rats compared with sham rats (165.0±3.7) and even lower in rats that underwent both ablations (128.4±6.6). There were no differences in heart rate or fluid balance between sham and renal denervated rats; however, rats that underwent either celiac ganglionectomy or both ablations exhibited marked tachycardia as well as sodium and water retention after treatment. These data suggest that targeted sympathetic ablation is an effective treatment for established hypertension in the Dahl rat and that the kidneys and the splanchnic vascular bed are both independently important targets of the sympathetic nervous system in this model.

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