Effects of arterial vasodilators on cardiac hypertrophy and sympathetic activity in rats.
In spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), the progression (or absence of regression) of cardiac hypertrophy despite adequate blood pressure (BP) control by arterial vasodilators has been attributed to increased cardiac sympathetic activity. We evaluated changes in indices of general and cardiac sympathetic tone in relation to changes in cardiac anatomy during treatment of normotensive rats and SHR with hydralazine, 120 mg/L, or minoxidil, 120 mg/L of drinking water. In SHR, both vasodilators reduced BP rapidly and consistently. Significant increases in heart rate and plasma norepinephrine were observed only in the initial 2 days of arterial vasodilator treatment. After 5 weeks of treatment, marked increases in left and right ventricular sympathetic activity (as assessed by norepinephrine turnover rates) were present, but no increase was seen in heart rate and plasma norepinephrine. Intravascular volume expansion was observed on Day 14 of minoxidil and Day 35 of hydralazine treatment. Prolonged treatment with minoxidil induced significant increases in left ventricular internal diameter, as well as in left and right ventricular weights, but not in the wall thickness of the left ventricle. Treatment with hydralazine did not affect left ventricular weight and caused a small increase in the weight of the right ventricle. In normotensive rats, both vasodilators initially decreased BP, but tolerance developed within 1 to 2 weeks of treatment. Plasma norepinephrine and heart rate showed increases only at Day 1 of either treatment, whereas cardiac sympathetic hyperactivity persisted at 2 and 5 weeks of treatment. Changes in cardiac anatomy were qualitatively similar to those observed in SHR. We conclude that, during treatment of normotensive rats and SHR with arterial vasodilators, cardiac sympathetic hyperactivity persists and may be involved in the cardiac effects of arterial vasodilators. However, other mechanisms, such as chronic cardiac volume overload, may also play an important role, particularly with minoxidil.
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association