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J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2013 Jul;15(7):485-96. doi: 10.1111/jch.12109. Epub 2013 Apr 26.

Salt loading and potassium supplementation: effects on ambulatory arterial stiffness index and endothelin-1 levels in normotensive and mild hypertensive patients.

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Cardio-Cerebrovascular Control and Research Center, Institute of Basic Medicine, Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan, Shandong, China.


The authors investigated effects of excessive salt intake and potassium supplementation on ambulatory arterial stiffness index (AASI) and endothelin-1 (ET-1) in salt-sensitive and non-salt-sensitive individuals. AASI and symmetric AASI (s-AASI) were used as indicators of arterial stiffness. Plasma ET-1 levels were used as an index of endothelial function. Chronic salt-loading and potassium supplementation were studied in 155 normotensive to mild hypertensive patients from rural northern China. After 3 days of baseline investigation, participants were maintained sequentially for 7 days each on diets of low salt (51.3 mmol/d), high salt (307.7 mmol/d), and high salt+potassium (60 mmol/d). Ambulatory 24-hour blood pressure (BP) and plasma ET-1 were measured at baseline and on the last 2 days of each intervention. High-salt intervention significantly increased BP, AASI, s-AASI (all P<.001); potassium supplementation reversed increased plasma ET-1 levels. High-salt-induced changes in BP, s-AASI, and plasma ET-1 were greater in salt-sensitive individuals. Potassium supplementation decreased systolic BP and ET-1 to a significantly greater extent in salt-sensitive vs non-salt-sensitive individuals (P<.001). Significant correlations were identified between s-AASI and ET-1 change ratios in response to both high-salt intervention and potassium supplementation (P<.001). Reducing dietary salt and increasing daily potassium improves arterial compliance and ameliorates endothelial dysfunction.

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