Activation of the Renin-Angiotensin System Mediates the Effects of Dietary Salt Intake on Atherogenesis in the Apolipoprotein E Knockout Mouse
Dietary salt intake is a major determinant of the activation state of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Given the important role of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in plaque accumulation, we investigated its role in the development of atherogenesis associated with sodium intake in apolipoprotein E knockout mice. Six-weeks of a low-salt diet (containing 0.03% sodium) resulted in a 4-fold increase in plaque accumulation in apolipoprotein E knockout mice when compared with mice receiving normal chow (containing 0.30% sodium). This was associated with activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, increased vascular expression of adhesion molecules and inflammatory cytokines, and increased adhesion of labeled leukocytes across the whole aorta on a dynamic flow assay. These changes were blocked with the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor perindopril (2 mg/kg per day). A high-salt diet (containing 3% sodium) attenuated vascular inflammation and atherogenesis, associated with suppression of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, although systolic blood pressure levels were modestly increased (5±1 mmHg). Constitutive activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 apolipoprotein E knockout mice was also associated with increased atherosclerosis and vascular adhesion, and this was attenuated by a high-salt diet associated with suppression of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. By contrast, a low-salt diet failed to further activate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system or to increase atherosclerosis in angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 apolipoprotein E knockout mice. Together, these data validate a relationship between salt-mediated renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system activation and atherogenesis, which may partly explain the inconclusive or paradoxical findings of recent observational studies, despite clear effects on blood pressure.
- Received January 19, 2012.
- Revision received February 21, 2012.
- Accepted May 3, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.