Acute and chronic calcium antagonist treatment elevates sympathetic activity in primary hypertension.
Eleven men with mild to moderate primary hypertension were studied at rest and during mental stress before and during intravenous infusion of the calcium antagonist felodipine. Eight of them were restudied during long-term treatment (extended-release felodipine, 10 mg daily). For comparison, 10 normotensive control subjects were studied with the short-term protocol. Heart rate, cardiac output, central cardiovascular pressures, and forearm blood flow were registered. Arterial and venous sampling was performed. Norepinephrine spillovers to arterial plasma and from the forearm were assessed with the use of radiotracer methodology. In the hypertensive patients, felodipine lowered mean arterial blood pressure acutely by 8% (P < .01). Systemic vascular resistance decreased by 22% (P < .001), cardiac output increased by 20% (P < .01), and norepinephrine spillover to arterial plasma increased by 61% (P < .001). Forearm vascular resistance fell by 30% (P < .001), but norepinephrine overflow from the forearm increased by 115% (P < .001). These forearm responses were not seen in normotensive subjects despite similar systemic responses to felodipine infusion. After 8 weeks of treatment, mean arterial pressure decreased to 15% below baseline (P < .001), cardiac output returned toward pretreatment levels, and systemic vascular resistance remained low. Forearm blood flow returned toward basal levels, but forearm vascular resistance remained lowered. Total body and forearm norepinephrine spillover values were as elevated as in the acute situation. The hemodynamic "defense reaction" and the sympathoadrenal response to mental stress were essentially unaffected by felodipine. Stress-induced small elevations of neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity persisted during felodipine. Thus, the vasodilatation induced by felodipine elicits sympathetic counterregulation, which persists in the long term with respect to peripheral and total sympathetic activities, despite resetting of the baroreflex control of heart rate.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association