Many studies have suggested that renal T cell infiltration contributes to the pathogenesis of salt-sensitive hypertension. To investigate this mechanism further, we determined T cell profiles in the kidney and lymphoid tissues as a function of blood pressure in the female Envigo Dahl salt-sensitive (SS) rat maintained on low-Na+ (LS) diet. Mean arterial pressure and heart rate were measured by telemetry in SS rats from 1 mo old (juvenile) to 4 mo old. Normotensive salt-resistant (SR) rats were included as controls. Frequencies of T helper (CD4+) cells were greater in the kidney, lymph nodes, and spleen in 4-mo-old hypertensive SS rats compared with normotensive SR animals and SS juvenile rats, suggesting that renal T cell infiltration contributes to hypertension in the SS rat on a LS diet. At 1.5 mo, half of the SS rats were treated with vehicle (Veh), and the rest received hydralazine (HDZ; 25 mg·kg-1·day-1) for 11 wk. HDZ impeded the development of hypertension compared with Veh-treated control rats [mean arterial pressure: 157 ± 4 mmHg in the Veh-treated group (n = 6) vs. 133 ± 3 mmHg in the HDZ-treated group (n = 7), P < 0.001] without impacting T helper cell frequencies in the tissues, suggesting that HDZ can overcome mechanisms of hypertension driven by renal T cell infiltration under the LS diet. Renal frequencies of CD4+CD25+ and CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells were significantly higher in 4-mo-old hypertensive rats compared with normotensive SR rats and SS juvenile rats, suggesting that these T cell subpopulations play a compensatory role in the development of hypertension. Greater understanding of these T cell populations could lead to new therapeutic targets for treating inflammatory diseases associated with hypertension.
Keywords: CD25; activated T cells; immune system.