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Hypertension. 2005 May;45(5):853-9. Epub 2005 Apr 4.

High-salt diet inhibits expression of angiotensin type 2 receptor in resistance arteries.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University Los Andes, Chile.


Recent studies suggested that type 2 angiotensin receptor (AT2R) could contribute to regulation of blood pressure and/or vascular remodeling. A key question relates to the effects of potential modulators of vascular AT2R expression. In the present work, we evaluated if high salt intake (70 mmol/L NaCl in drinking water) could modulate rat mesenteric artery AT2R function and expression. Angiotensin II dose-response curves were studied in rat perfused pressurized small-diameter arteries in the presence of losartan (AT1R antagonist). Arteries were precontracted with phenylephrine, yielding approximately 30% decrease in resting diameter. AT2R activation by angiotensin-induced dose-dependent relaxation of precontracted arteries (60.1+/-9.1% of phenylephrine-induced contraction, P<0.05). In contrast, AT2R-dependent relaxation was not observed in arteries obtained from rats on high-salt diet. Semi-quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction experiments demonstrated reduced amount of AT2R mRNA in arteries of rats on high-salt diet (65.5+/-7.5% of control levels, P<0.05). Western blot studies demonstrated decreased AT2R in mesenteric artery protein fractions of high-salt diet rats (60.0+/-18.0 of control levels, P<0.05). In a second set of experiments, adrenalectomy (4 days) blunted AT2R-mediated vasorelaxation and decreased AT2R mRNA (72.0+/-11.0% of control levels, P<0.05). AT2R abundance in protein fractions of mesenteric arteries of ADX rats was also diminished (64.0+/-13% of control levels, P<0.05). Both, AT2R mRNA and protein downregulation were prevented by mineralocorticoid replacement therapy. Finally, physiological concentrations of aldosterone caused a dose-dependent increase in AT2R mRNA of small diameter mesenteric artery explants. The results are consistent with aldosterone-mediated upregulation AT2R.

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