Sympathetic nerve activity and blood pressure in normotensive backcross rats genetically related to the spontaneously hypertensive rat.
The genetic basis of hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system (SNA) in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) was assessed by measuring SNA in animals derived from a backcross (BC) breeding program designed to isolate single gene differences causing changes in blood pressure. Selective breeding of the male hypertensive rats with inbred normotensive female Wistar/Lewis rats yielded progeny with a range of blood pressures, but whose group mean pressures were lower than the group mean pressures of the original SHR. Progressive generations had progressively lower group mean pressures. There was a positive correlation between SNA and mean arterial pressure in BC rats. These results indicate that the genetic defect in SHR may be abnormality in SNA, and the hypertension in these animals is a secondary result of this primary defect. Baroreceptor function was also assessed in SHR and in BC rats. In young (8 to 24 weeks old) SHR, baroreceptor function was similar to that in BC rats, whereas SNA was markedly increased. Only in older (24 to 40 weeks old) SHR was there an abnormality in the gain of baroreceptors. The development of hypertension in SHR therefore appears to be due to increased SNA resulting from a defect in the central nervous system. Changes in baroreceptor function are secondary to the hypertension and occur after the hypertension is established.
- Copyright © 1979 by American Heart Association