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Medicine (Baltimore). 1975 Jan;54(1):29-44.

Renal vascular tone in essential and secondary hypertension: hemodynamic and angiographic responses to vasodilators.


The renal vascular response to graded doses of acetylcholine, dopamine and phentolamine, assessed by xenon washout and selective arteriography was used to define the relative contribution of fixed and reversible vascular abnormalities to increased renal vascular resistance in patients with essential or secondary hypertension. The increase in blood flow induced by acetylcholine and dopamine was blunted strikingly in patients with advanced nephrosclerosis, chronic pyelonephritis and polycystic kidney disease and was normal in the kidney contralateral to a significant renal artery stenosis. Conversely, the response to both was potentiated in 9 of 13 (69%) patients with mild essential hypertension. Equivalent potentiation of the response to acetylcholine was induced in normal subjects by increasing renal vascular tone pharmacologically with angiotensin. Phentolamine infused into the renal artery also increased renal blood flow significantly in 6 of 9 (67%) patients with mild essential hypertension, but in none of 15 normal subjects, over a dose reange that paralleled that for alpha-adrenergic blockade. Changes in the selective renal arteriogram were in excellent accord: potentiated response to acetylcholine, phentolamine or dopamine was associated with reversal of the small vessel abnormalities visualized in the arteriogram. The reduced blood flow response in advanced nephrosclerosis or parenchymal disease was associated with a reduced angiographic change during dilator infusion. The results suggest a quantitatively important, functional renal vascular abnormality--perhaps mediated by the sympathetic nervous system--in many patients with mild essential hypertension. Conversely the renal vascular abnormality associated with advanced nephrosclerosis or renal parenchymal disease is largely fixed and is probably due to organic changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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