Endothelium-dependent vascular responses in normotensive and hypertensive Dahl rats

T. F. Luscher, L. Raij, P. M. Vanhoutte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

354 Scopus citations


Experiments were designed to study endothelium-dependent responses in salt-sensitive (DS) and salt-resistant Dahl rats (DR). The rats were fed a low sodium (0.1% NaCl) or high sodium (8% NaCl) diet for 8 weeks. Blood pressure in DS fed a high sodium diet was higher than that in the remaining animals. Aortic rings with and without endothelium were suspended for isometric tension recording. Acetylcholine, adenosine 5'-diphosphate, and thrombin induced endothelium-dependent relaxations that were significantly depressed in the aorta of DS fed a high sodium diet. The relaxations in response to sodium nitroprusside were only slightly, but significantly, depressed in DS fed a high sodium diet. Removal of the endothelium greatly enhanced the response to serotonin and norepinephrine. In rings with, but not without, endothelium taken from rats fed a high sodium diet, the tension developed in response to serotonin and norepinephrine was significantly greater than that in animals fed a low sodium diet. These experiments indicate that (1) endothelium-dependent relaxations to acetylcholine, adenosine 5'-diphosphate, and thrombin are depressed in hypertensive Dahl rats; (2) this effect probably reflects a decreased release of endothelium-derived relaxing factor(s), although structural changes might contribute; and (3) the responsiveness to vasoconstrictor agents is increased in DS and DR fed a high sodium diet. These findings may indicate differential effects of blood pressure and dietary salt on endothelial function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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