Salt sensitivity in humans is associated with abnormal acid-base regulation.
Metabolic acidosis has recently been observed in rat models of salt-sensitive genetic hypertension. To test the hypothesis that salt sensitivity in humans may be associated with abnormal acid-base homeostasis, we performed arterial blood gas analyses in young (20-31 years old) normotensive subjects (n = 40) who were placed on a low salt diet (20 mmol NaCl/day) for 2 weeks with either 200 mmol sodium chloride or placebo added to the low salt diet for 1 week each in a randomized, single-blind crossover order. Furthermore, a subset of the subjects (seven salt-sensitive and eight salt-resistant) received 200 mmol sodium/day as the citrate salt as a supplement to the low salt diet for a third week. During each regimen, blood pressure as well as arterial pH and bicarbonate levels were measured. Salt sensitivity was defined as a significant drop in mean arterial pressure greater than 3 mm Hg (mean of 30 readings taken during each diet, p less than 0.05) while the subject was on the low salt diet. According to this definition, 16 subjects were salt-sensitive and 24 salt-resistant. During the high sodium chloride regimen, arterial pH and bicarbonate levels were significantly lower in the salt-sensitive than in the salt-resistant group (p less than 0.0001). The increase in blood pressure caused by sodium chloride correlated inversely to the arterial pH (r = -0.57, p = 0.0002) and bicarbonate levels (r = -0.52, p = 0.0007) during the high salt diet. Sodium chloride increased mean arterial blood pressure in the salt-sensitive subjects; sodium citrate did not. Sodium citrate led to an increase in pH and bicarbonate levels in both groups. Our finding that a sodium chloride-induced rise in blood pressure is associated with lower arterial plasma pH and bicarbonate levels points to an abnormality in renal acid-base regulation in salt-sensitive subjects.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association