Background: Prolonged angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy leads to angiotensin I (Ang I) accumulation, which may "escape" ACE inhibition, generate Ang II, stimulate the Ang II subtype 1 (AT1) receptor, and exert deleterious renal effects in patients with chronic renal diseases. We tested the hypothesis that losartan therapy added to a background of chronic (>3 months) maximal ACE inhibitor therapy (lisinopril 40 mg q.d.) will result in additional Ang II antagonism in patients with proteinuric chronic renal failure with hypertension.
Methods: Sixteen patients with proteinuric moderately advanced chronic renal failure completed a two-period, crossover, randomized controlled trial. Each period was one month with a two-week washout between periods. In one period, patients received lisinopril 40 mg q.d. along with other antihypertensive therapy, and in the other, losartan 50 mg q.d. was added to the previously mentioned regimen. Hemodynamic measurements included ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABP; Spacelabs 90207), glomerular filtration rate (GFR) with iothalamate clearances and cardiac outputs by acetylene helium rebreathing technique. Supine plasma renin activity and plasma aldosterone and 24-hour urine protein were measured in all patients.
Results: Twelve patients had diabetic nephropathy, and four had chronic glomerulonephritis. The mean age (+/- SD) was 53 +/- 9 years. The body mass index was 38 +/- 5.7 kg/m(2), and all except two patients were males. Seated cuff blood pressure was 156 +/- 18/88 +/- 12 mm Hg. The pulse rate was 77 +/- 11 per min, and the cardiac index was 2.9 +/- 0.5 L/min/m(2). Mean log 24-hour protein excretion/g creatinine or overall ABPs did not change. Mean placebo subtracted, losartan-attributable change in protein excretion was +1% (95% CI, -20% to 28%, P = 0.89). Similarly, the change in systolic ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) was 4.6 mm Hg (-5.7 to 14.9, P = 0.95), and diastolic ABP was 1.5 mm Hg (-4.5 to 7.6, P = 0.59). No change was seen in cardiac output. However, there was a mean 14% increase (95% CI, 3 to 26%, P = 0.017) in GFR attributable to losartan therapy. A concomitant fall in plasma renin activity by 32% was seen (95% CI, -15%, - 45%, P = 0.002). No hyperkalemia, hypotension, or acute renal failure occurred in the trial. These results were not attributable to sequence or carryover effects.
Conclusions: Add-on losartan therapy did not improve proteinuria or ABP over one month of add on therapy. Improvement of GFR and fall in plasma renin activity suggest that renal hemodynamic and endocrine changes are more sensitive measures of AT1 receptor blockade. Whether add-on AT1 receptor blockade causes antiproteinuric effects or long-term renal protection requires larger and longer prospective, randomized controlled trials.