Glucocorticoid hypertension and nonadrenal phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase.
Several drugs that block epinephrine synthesis by inhibiting phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) lower blood pressure in hypertensive rats. We investigated the mechanism by which these drugs lower blood pressure in rats made hypertensive with the glucocorticoid dexamethasone. We performed adrenalectomy or sham operation on several rats and then gave them either dexamethasone chronically or vehicle. The dexamethasone-treated adrenalectomized rats also received either the centrally acting PNMT inhibitor SKF 64139 chronically or an equal dose of the primarily peripherally acting PNMT inhibitor SKF 29661. Both SKF 64139 and SKF 29661 reduced blood pressure by more than 25 mm Hg. SKF 64139 also reduced PNMT activity in hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, skeletal muscle, and cardiac atria and ventricles; SKF 29661 inhibited PNMT in muscle and heart tissue by 40-75%, did not inhibit PNMT in hypothalamus, and inhibited PNMT by only 29% in medulla oblongata. PNMT activity in peripheral tissues was also more highly correlated with blood pressure than was PNMT activity in the brain areas studied. Neither drug reduced tissue epinephrine levels, but SKF 64139 elevated dopamine or norepinephrine levels or both in several tissues. We conclude that the blood pressure-lowering action of PNMT-inhibiting drugs in glucocorticoid hypertensive rats may be due to inhibition of peripheral nonadrenal PNMT. We speculate that elevations in nonadrenal PNMT may mediate glucocorticoid hypertension.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association