Sexual dimorphism may occur during the development of hypertension and congestive heart failure (CHF). Male and female spontaneous hypertension heart failure (SHHF) rats with established hypertension, but before CHF (age 5-8 mo) and during cardiac decompensation leading to CHF (age 18-20 mo in male rats and 22-24 mo in female rats), were studied. At 5-8 mo, male SHHF rats showed early activation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), as indicated by increased plasma renin activity (PRA) and higher serum angiotensin-converting enzyme activity compared with female rats. The increase in PRA in female rats was delayed compared with males rats, but it reached comparable levels just before CHF. Urinary endothelin excretion was significantly greater in 5- to 8-mo-old female rats compared with age-matched male rats. Urinary endothelin excretion increased in both male and female rats as CHF developed. Plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) was comparable at both time points, and both genders showed similar, marked increases as CHF developed. In conclusion, male rats show early activation of the RAS, whereas female rats show early activation of the endothelin vasopressor system. During cardiac decompensation, generalized activation of the RAS, endothelin, and ANP systems occurs and is similar in male and female SHHF rats.
- Atrial natriuretic peptide
- Plasma renin activity
- Spontaneous hypertension heart failure