Sex and salt intake dependent renin-angiotensin plasticity in the liver of the rat

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Objective. Epidemiological studies confirm that hypertensive patients respond differently to renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibition depending on their gender. The aim of present work is to focus on sex-dependent differences in RAS regulation under conditions of increased salt intake.

Method. To investigate RAS, we measured the expression of angiotensinogen (Agt) mRNA, angiotensin receptor type 1 (AT1) mRNA and mitochondria assembly receptor (MasR) in the liver of rats under control conditions and after feeding with a salt diet (2% NaCl). In parallel, vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) mRNA was analyzed.

Results. Regression analysis revealed sex-dependent differences in the correlation between mRNA expression of AT1 and that of Agt, MasR and VEGF-A in both groups. There was a significant negative correlation between AT1 and Agt mRNA expression in the male control group, but this correlation disappeared in males exposed to a salt diet. In females, AT1 and Agt expression correlated only in the group exposed to the salt diet. In control males, there was a borderline trend to correlation between AT1 and MasR mRNA expression. The correlation between AT1 and VEGF-A mRNA expression was significant only in the control females, however, after exposure to a salt diet, this correlation diminished.

Conclusions. We hypothesize that RAS components expression is compensated differently in males and females. The observed loss of compensatory relationships in RAS between AT1 and Agt and AT1 and MasR in male rats under a salt diet can contribute to the differences observed in human with hypertension associated with an unhealthy diet.

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