Long-term increases in renal sympathetic nerve activity and hypertension

Jeffrey L. Osborn, Craig F. Plato, Erez Gordin, Xiao Rui He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Essential hypertensive patients have been characterized by increased sympathetic nerve activity, increased peripheral vascular tone, decreased plasma volume and normal cardiac output when compared with normotensive subjects. Bilateral renal denervation reduces the magnitude or delays the onset of the blood pressure response in numerous models of experimental hypertension regardless of the aetiology of the elevation in arterial pressure. Using a servocontrolled intrarenal infusion system, we have elevated intrarenal noradrenaline concentration via intermittent renal artery infusion without decreasing renal blood flow as a method of simulating selective elevation of renal sympathetic outflow. Chronic intrarenal adrenergic stimulation increased arterial pressure within 24 h and this hypertension persisted for 28 consecutive days. The elevated arterial pressure was not associated with sustained increases in plasma renin activity, aldosterone, circulating catecholamines, arginine vasopressin or significant renal vasoconstriction. Urinary sodium excretion was chronically elevated and the dogs remained in negative sodium balance for the duration of the intrarenal noradrenaline infusion. After 2 weeks of elevated intrarenal neurotransmitter coupled with hypertension, renal vascular reactivity to further adrenergic stimulation was significantly increased because the hypertension was maintained during continual reductions in the daily dosage of neurotransmitter allowed to be infused by the servocontroller. After only 28 days of noradrenaline infusion, renal vascular hypertrophy developed in vessels from 150-300 μm. We conclude that selective and intermittent increases in intrarenal adrenergic neurotransmitter are sufficient to elicit chronic hypertension in the absence of volume expansion. This intrarenal neuroadrenergic hypertension is closely associated with the haemodynamic parameters which characterize a major subset of human essential hypertensives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-76
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • hypertension
  • noradrenaline
  • sympathetic nerve activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)


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