Dietary salt and accelerated hypertension: lack of sub-line differentiation in spontaneously hypertensive rat stocks from the United States

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We compared the ability of a high-NaCl diet to produce blood pressure elevation in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) from the major North American commercial suppliers (Harlan, Taconic Farms, Charles River) and SHR and stroke-prone SHR (SHRSP) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Animals were raised on a low-NaCl diet containing 0.30% NaCI and placed on an 8.0% NaCl diet at 37 days of age. In males, the high-NaCl diet produced large increments in blood pressure within 2-4 weeks, which were similar in magnitude for all SHR derivations. In females, increments in blood pressure occurred more slowly than in males but, in most SHR derivations, the absolute blood pressure level eventually reached was similar to that seen in males. The present findings provide no evidence of sub-line differentiation among SHR stocks from the United States regarding the blood pressure-augmenting effects of increased levels of NaCI and are consistent with the results of DNA fingerprinting studies, which have not found any genetic variation between SHR from different colonies. We speculate that the pervasive gender differences in the blood pressure response to the high-NaCl diet in SHR may reflect gender differences in food intake, and hence the dose of NaCl received, rather than intrinsic differences between males and females. On the other hand, the lack of significant gender differences in blood pressure response to the high-NaCl diet in SHRSP may reflect the genetic differences which are known to exist between this strain and the main SHR stemline

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