Characterization of the renal effects of calcium entry blockers has not been easy because the inhibition of Ca2+ cellular influx alters several regulatory functions. The ability of calcium blockers to dilate renal vasculature and to increase glomerular filtration rate is largely determined by the preexisting vascular tone. However, the increments in sodium excretion could occur without alterations in renal hemodynamics. Calcium blockers could increase sodium excretion by inducing a redistribution of renal blood flow toward juxtamedullary nephrons, by inhibiting tubuloglomerular feedback responses, or by a direct action on the tubular transport of sodium. These effects are poorly understood at present. In vitro studies show that the blockade of calcium entry enhances renin secretion and decreases prostaglandin synthesis. This dissociation has not been found during long-term administration, which has been proved to be effective for the treatment of essential hypertension with normal maintenance of renal function. In this respect, there are reports indicating that calcium blockers are particularly effective in a subgroup of patients with essential hypertension who exhibit subtle but detectable alterations in calcium metabolism. Further studies are needed to determine whether this significant response to calcium blockers is due to correction of an early defect of calcium cellular kinetics that initiated the increase in blood pressure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine