To elucidate the effect of natriuretic and antinatriuretic factors on the excretion of an intravenous sodium load, we observed the natriuretic responses of 12 patients with essential hypertension (EHT) and 7 age- and sex-matched normotensive (NT) subjects following the intravenous administration of 1500 mL of normal saline over a 3 h period. After saline infusion, both groups showed increases in urinary sodium excretion (UNaV). The increases in glomerular filtration rate (GFR), atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and urinary dopamine excretion (UDAV) and the suppression of plasma renin activity (PRA) were similar in both groups. However, no significant change in blood pressure (BP) was seen in either group. Since significant negative linear correlations between the basal level of PRA and percent change in UNaV or GFR were seen only in EHT, we observed the influence of suppressing the renin-angiotensin system with a converting enzyme inhibitor. After a 7 day treatment with enalapril, GFR and UNaV in EHT after saline infusion were comparable to data obtained in the absence of enalapril, despite a reduction in preexpansion BP. Furthermore, a significant positive correlation between the basal BP and the percent increase in UNaV was seen among EHT after enalapril treatment. These results suggest that the state of the renin - angiotensin system is important in renal sodium excretion in EHT.
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