Leukocyte counts and activation in spontaneously hypertensive and normotensive rats.
The etiology for the progressive organ injury in hypertension is largely speculative. Recent studies have shown that leukocytes play a key role in several cardiovascular diseases. As an initial step toward investigating the role of leukocytes in hypertension, we measured leukocyte counts and spontaneous activation of granulocytes of freshly drawn unseparated blood samples in spontaneously hypertensive rats and in their normotensive counterpart, Wistar-Kyoto rats. The animals were derived from one breeder in the United States and from two breeders in Europe. Total leukocyte counts in young, mature, and old hypertensive rats were 50-100% above the controls. The number of granulocytes in mature and old spontaneously hypertensive rats in more than 100% elevated compared with control rats. In young hypertensive rats the mean granulocyte count was only slightly elevated. The number of spontaneously activated granulocytes, as detected by the nitroblue tetrazolium reduction, increases with age in both species; in mature spontaneously hypertensive rats, it is more than 300% above the values in the controls. Furthermore, in mature hypertensive rats the number of monocytes, activated monocytes, and the lymphocyte count are also significantly elevated over the values in the normotensive controls. It is proposed that these elevated leukocyte counts may constitute an enhanced risk for organ injury in the spontaneously hypertensive rat.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association