Aim: Recent controversial studies have proposed that excess norepinephrine (NE) evokes impaired NCC regulation to drive salt-sensitive hypertension. The following studies examine the impact of excess NE on salt-sensitivity and sodium homeostasis in conscious Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats.
Methods: Naïve male SD rats, rats receiving a s.c. vehicle infusion (DMSO/Saline, 50:50), or rats receiving a s.c. NE infusion (600ng/min) were fed a 0.4% (NS) or 8% NaCl (HS) diet for 14 days. Additional rats received s.c. hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, 4mg/kg/d) in combination with NE (600ng/min) for 14 days on HS. On day 14, MAP, FENa, MAP response to i.v. hexamethonium (30mg/kg), and peak natriuresis to i.v. HCTZ (2mg/kg) infusion were assessed (N=4/gp). A PCR array examining NCC associated genes was performed on kidney cortex samples from each group.
Results: NE increased MAP, FENa and vascular sympathetic tone (MAP [mmHg] NS 127±2, NE+NS 151±3, p<0.05). We observed no difference between the naïve and vehicle rats. A HS diet exacerbated NE induced hypertension (MAP [mmHg] HS 129±2, NE+HS 172±4, p<0.05), reduced FENa and prevented a salt stimulated reduction in HCTZ evoked natriuresis. Co-infusion of HCTZ with NE abolished the salt-sensitive component of NE-induced hypertension (MAP [mmHg] NE+HCTZ+HS: 152±3, p<0.05). PCR analysis revealed a significant increase in serine/threonine kinase 39 (0.83-fold increase vs. Naïve SD on NS) mRNA in NE+HS rats. We did not see NE or HS evoked changes in OSR-1, WNK4 or NCC mRNA in any group.
Conclusion: The results support previous studies in mice and highlight an opposing interaction between excess NE and high salt intake on sodium homeostasis which exacerbated NE-induced hypertension via a mechanism independent of NE-mediated vascular constriction. Physiologically, our results show impaired NCC function, supporting previous data. In contrast, we failed to detect elevated NCC or WNK4 mRNA in response to NE infusion contradicting data generated in mice and suggesting a key role of altered NCC phosphorylation versus expression in NE treated rats.