Responsiveness vs. basal activity of plasma ANG II as a determinant of arterial pressure salt sensitivity

John W. Osborn, Pilar Ariza-Nieto, John P. Collister, Sandra Soucheray, Benjamin Zimmerman, Stephen Katz

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9 Scopus citations


Infusion of angiotensin II (ANG II) causes salt-sensitive hypertension. It is unclear whether this is due to the body's inability to suppress ANG II during increased salt intake or, rather, an elevated basal level of plasma ANG II itself. To distinguish between these mechanisms, Sprague-Dawley rats were instrumented with arterial and venous catheters for measurement of arterial pressure and infusion of drugs, respectively. The sensitivity of arterial pressure to salt was measured in four groups with the following treatments: 1) saline control (Con, n = 12); 2) administration of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril to block endogenous ANG II (ANG-Lo, n = 10); 3) administration of enalapril and 5 ANG II to clamp plasma ANG II at normal levels (ANG-Norm, n = 10); and 4) administration of enalapril and 20 ng·kg-1·min-1 ANG II to clamp ANG II at high levels (ANG-Hi, n = 10). Rats ingested a 0.4% NaCl diet for 3 days and then a 4.0% NaCl diet for 11 days. Arterial pressure of rats fed the 0.4% NaCl diet was lower in ANG-Lo (84 ± 2 mmHg) compared with Con (101 ± 3 mmHg) and ANG-Norm (98 ± 4 mmHg) groups, whereas ANG-Hi rats were hypertensive (145 ± 4 mmHg). Salt sensitivity was expressed as the change in arterial pressure divided by the change in sodium intake on the last day of the 4.0% NaCl diet. Salt sensitivity (in mmHg/meq Na) was lowest in Con rats (0.0 ± 0.1) and progressed from ANG-Lo (0.8 ± 0.2) to ANG-Norm (1.5 ± 0.5) to ANG-Hi (3.5 ± 0.5) rats. We conclude that the major determinant of salt sensitivity of arterial pressure is the basal level of plasma ANG II rather than the responsiveness of the renin-angiotensin system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2142-H2149
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 54-5
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Renin-angiotensin syst
  • Sympathetic nervous system


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