The evidence that some older patients with essential hypertension have low urinary dopamine excretion has brought into question the levels of urinary dopamine and plasma dopa, the major source of urinary dopamine, in young patients with essential hypertension. Twentyfour-hour urine sodium, creatinine, dopamine and noradrenaline and plasma dopa were evaluated in 48 patients with essential hypertension aged 18 to 27 years and 25 normotensive subjects. In comparison with age-matched normotensive subjects, the hypertensive patients had higher urinary dopamine (1920 ± 80 vs 1520 ± 130 nmol/day, p < 0.01) and noradrenaline (216 ± 11 vs 179 ± 12 nmol/day, p < 0.05) excretion. There was a significant correlation between urinary dopamine and noradrenaline excretion. There was no difference in plasma dopa levels between normotensive and hypertensive subjects. These results suggest that the elevated conversion of dopa to dopamine in the kidney is leading to increased urinary dopamine excretion in young patients with essential hypertension.
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