Effect of amiloride and spironolactone on renal tubular function and central blood pressure in patients with arterial hypertension during baseline conditions and after furosemide: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial

Clin Exp Hypertens. 2013;35(5):313-24. doi: 10.3109/10641963.2012.721843. Epub 2012 Sep 11.


This study demonstrates that the increased potassium content in the body seems to change both the blood pressure and renal tubular function. We wanted to test the hypotheses that amiloride and spironolactone induced potassium retention reduces ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) and central blood pressure (CBP) during baseline conditions and after furosemide and that the tubular transport via the epithelial sodium channels (ENaCs) and aquaporin-2 (AQP2) water channels was increased by furosemide in arterial hypertension. Each of three 28-day treatment periods (placebo, amiloride, and spironolactone) was completed by a 4-day period with standardized diet regarding calories and sodium and water intake. At the end of each period, we measured pulse wave velocity (PWV), central systolic blood pressure (CSBP), central diastolic blood pressure (CDBP), glomerular filtration rate (GFR), free water clearance (CH2O), fractional excretion of sodium (FENa) and potassium (FEK), urinary excretion of AQP2 (u-AQP2), urinary excretion of γ-fraction of the ENaC (u-ENaCγ), and plasma concentrations of renin (PRC), angiotensin II (p-Ang II), and aldosterone (p-Aldo) at baseline conditions and after furosemide bolus. Ambulatory blood pressure and CBP were significantly lowered by amiloride and spironolactone. During 24-hour urine collection and at baseline, GFR, CH2O, FENa, FEK, u-AQP2 and u-ENaCγ were the same. After furosemide, CH2O, FENa, FEK, u-AQP2, u-ENaCγ, PRC, p-Ang II, p-Aldo, PWV and CDBP increased after all treatments. However, during amiloride treatment, FEK increased to a larger extent than after spironolactone and during placebo after furosemide, and CSBP was not significantly reduced. The increases in water and sodium absorption via AQP2 and ENaC after furosemide most likely are compensatory phenomena to antagonize water and sodium depletion. Amiloride is less effective than spironolactone to reduce renal potassium excretion.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aldosterone / metabolism
  • Amiloride / pharmacology*
  • Angiotensin II / metabolism
  • Aquaporin 2 / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diuretics / pharmacology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels / metabolism
  • Female
  • Furosemide / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / metabolism
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Tubules / drug effects*
  • Kidney Tubules / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Renin / metabolism
  • Sodium / metabolism
  • Spironolactone / pharmacology*


  • Aquaporin 2
  • Diuretics
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels
  • Angiotensin II
  • Spironolactone
  • Aldosterone
  • Amiloride
  • Furosemide
  • Sodium
  • Renin
  • Potassium