Pharmacological treatment of prehypertension may ameliorate hypertension and improve vascular structure and function. This study investigated 1) whether early treatment with either losartan or amlodipine at the onset of prehypertension can prevent hypertension and 2) whether losartan and amlodipine equally improve vascular remodeling and function in a rat model of hypertension.Materials and methods:
Stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive (SHRSP) rats were administered losartan, amlodipine or saline for 6 or 16 weeks at the onset of prehypertension. Wistar-Kyoto rats were used as a control. All groups were observed for 40 weeks. Systolic blood pressure was measured using the tail-cuff method. Vascular structure and function were determined by microscopy and vascular ring contractility assays, respectively. Angiotensin II (Ang II) and aldosterone (Aldo) were measured by radioimmunoassays. Angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) and angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R) expression was measured by western blot.Key findings:
Losartan effectively reduced progression from prehypertension to hypertension as well as vascular remodeling and improved vascular contractility in SHRSP rats. Long-term losartan (16 weeks) had greater benefits than short-term (6 weeks) treatment. Losartan increased Ang II and decreased Aldo levels in the serum and vessel walls of resistance vessels in a time-dependent manner. Losartan significantly decreased AT1R and increased AT2R vascular expression. Amlodipine had no effect on vascular AT1R and AT2R expression.Significance:
Losartan administered at the onset of prehypertension is more effective than amlodipine in ameliorating hypertension and improving vascular remodeling and function, which is likely mediated by the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system.