Abstract 273: Increased Blood Pressure and Proteinuria and Absence of Increased Nitric Oxide (NO) Production During Pregnancy in the Dahl Salt Sensitive (S) Rat

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In normal pregnancy, systemic vasodilation due to increased NO production allows a drop in blood pressure (BP) despite increased volume retention. Little is known about the pathogenesis of preeclampsia, defined by increased BP and proteinuria, due to a lack of animal models that spontaneously develop the disease. Here we tested the hypothesis that the Dahl S rat, a genetic model of hypertension and kidney disease, is also a spontaneous model of preeclampsia. Female Dahl S rats were implanted with a telemetry unit, and baseline BP was recorded. Rats were placed in metabolic cages for 24 hr urine collection while on a low nitrate diet, and urinary protein and NO metabolite concentrations were measured via Bradford and Greiss assays, respectively. There were no differences in baseline BP (152±1 vs 151±4 mmHg) or proteinuria (61±10 vs 60±17 mg/d) in the rats selected for mating vs virgin rats (n=5-7). Pregnancy was confirmed by presence of sperm (day 1). Measurements were made during mid and late pregnancy (days 10-11, 17-18), and terminal measurements were taken on day 19. Pregnant rats exhibited an increase in BP and proteinuria with no change in urinary NOx excretion (Table), while no changes were observed in age-matched virgin rats. Kidney cortex abundance of neither NOS1 nor NOS3 was increased at late pregnancy; however, plasma concentration of the endogenous NOS inhibitor ADMA was increased in late pregnant compared to virgin rats (0.82±0.06 vs. 0.62±0.06 μM, p<0.05). These data suggest that the Dahl S rat cannot upregulate NO production during pregnancy; therefore, this relative NO deficiency may contribute to worsening hypertension and proteinuria during pregnancy in this strain.

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