Pressor resistance to vasopressin in sodium depletion, potassium depletion, and cirrhosis

B. M. Murray, Mark S Paller

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Resistance to the pressor effects of angiotensin II, but not norepinephrine, has been observed in sodium depletion, potassium depletion, and cirrhosis. We tested the response to arginine vasopressin (AVP) in each of these conditions. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were made sodium depleted with furosemide and a low-sodium diet for 3 days, potassium depleted by feeding a low-potassium diet for 14-21 days, or cirrhotic by inhalation of carbon tetrachloride for 8 wk. In conscious rats, the pressor response to graded doses of AVP was reduced in sodium depletion by 27-43% compared with control rats. Sodium-depleted rats were also found to have enhanced baroreceptor reflexes, since the decrease in heart rate for a given increase in mean arterial pressure was greater than in control rats. When the ganglionic blocker pentolinium tartrate was given to sodium-depleted rats the pressor response to AVP was restored to control levels. In potassium-depleted rats the pressor response to AVP was 21-52% lower than that in controls, whereas cirrhotic rats also had a blunted response to AVP (14-41% lower than control). However, there was no evidence in either of these two states of enhanced baroreceptor activity, and pretreatment with pentolithium tartrate did not restore the pressor response to normal. Therefore, although resistance to the pressor effect of AVP was found in all three conditions, the mechanism of this effect was different in sodium depletion compared with potassium depletion and cirrhosis. We conclude that resistance to the pressor action of AVP in sodium depletion was secondary to resetting of the baroreceptors. On the other hand, the blunted response to AVP in potassium depletion and cirrhosis was not baroreceptor mediated and may be due to a postreceptor defect in AVP action similar to that described for angiotensin II in these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R525-R530
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3 (20/3)
StatePublished - 1986


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