Effect of sodium intake on sympathetic and hemodynamic response to thermal receptor stimulation

Hypertension. 2003 Feb;41(2):261-5. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.0000052829.50997.fe.


Low dietary sodium intake increases central nervous system angiotensin activity, which increases basal renal sympathetic nerve activity and shifts its arterial baroreflex control to a higher level of arterial pressure. This results in a higher level of renal sympathetic nerve activity for a given level of arterial pressure during low dietary sodium intake than during either normal or high dietary sodium intake, in which there is less central angiotensin activity. Peripheral thermal receptor stimulation overrides arterial baroreflex control and produces a pressor response, tachycardia, increased renal sympathetic nerve activity, and renal vasoconstriction. To test the hypothesis that increased central angiotensin activity would enhance the responses to peripheral thermal receptor stimulation, anesthetized normal rats in balance on low, normal, and high dietary sodium intake were subjected to acute peripheral thermal receptor stimulation. Low sodium rats had greater increases in renal sympathetic nerve activity, greater decreases in RBF, and greater increases in renal vascular resistance than high sodium rats. Responses of normal sodium rats were between those of low and high sodium rats. Arterial pressure and heart rate responses were not different among dietary groups. Spontaneously hypertensive rats, known to have increased central nervous system angiotensin activity, also had greater renal sympathoexcitatory and vasoconstrictor responses than normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats. These results support the view that increased central nervous system angiotensin activity alters arterial baroreflex control of renal sympathetic nerve activity such that the renal sympathoexcitatory and vasoconstrictor responses to peripheral thermoreceptor stimulation are enhanced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Kidney / innervation
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Rats, Inbred WKY
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Angiotensin / physiology*
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / drug effects
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology


  • Receptors, Angiotensin
  • Sodium, Dietary