Sex Differences in Renal Inflammation and Injury in High-Fat Diet–Fed Dahl Salt-Sensitive Rats

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We examined the impact of sex on high-fat diet (HFD)–induced renal alterations in Dahl salt-sensitive and Sprague Dawley rats. In Dahl rats, HFD (60% kcal from fat for 24–26 weeks starting at weaning) significantly and equally increased blood pressure in males and females when compared with rats fed a control diet (10% kcal from fat). Male Dahl rats on HFD exhibited progressive renal histological injury and moderately increased renal macrophage infiltration at 10 and 24 weeks of feeding when compared with males on control diet. Female Dahl rats had lower grade renal injury and less macrophage infiltration (except at 17 weeks) than males regardless of diet. Male Dahl rats on both diets showed progressively increasing numbers of renal T-cells, a pattern not observed in females. HFD per se did not significantly affect renal T-cell number. Male Dahl rats had lower renal regulatory T-cells cell ratio than females at 24 weeks. Renal macrophage and T-cell infiltrations were highly correlated to final mean arterial pressure levels in males but not in females. Sprague Dawley rats fed HFD were normotensive without significant renal injury/inflammation after 24 weeks of feeding. In summary, HFD feeding fails to increase arterial blood pressure in Sprague Dawley rats but strongly promotes hypertension in both male and female Dahl salt-sensitive rats. Only Dahl males, however, exhibited blood pressure-associated renal inflammation and injury. Maintenance of regulatory T-cells ratio may protect against hypertension-associated renal injury/inflammation but not HFD-induced hypertension.

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