The effect of low and high sodium diets on plasma atrial natriuretic factor, the renin-aldosterone system and blood pressure in subjects with essential hypertension

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1994 Jan;40(1):73-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.1994.tb02446.x.


Objective: Increasing dietary sodium intake increases blood pressure in some subjects with essential hypertension. Atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) has a potential role in modifying these changes. The purpose of this study was to observe the blood pressure and plasma ANF responses to low and high sodium diets in subjects with essential hypertension to see if the plasma ANF and blood pressure responses were related.

Design: An in-patient study of subjects taking their normal diet (day 1), a 12 mmol sodium diet for 6 days and a 250 mmol diet for 6 days.

Patients: Seven men with essential hypertension.

Measurements: Continuous 24 hour urine collections were analysed for sodium excretion. Blood pressure was recorded at 0900, 1205 and 1700 h on days 1, 7 and 13. Blood was taken at 0900 h (fasting supine overnight) and at 1200 h (after 2 hours erect posture) on the above days for plasma ANF, plasma renin activity (PRA) and serum aldosterone.

Results: Urinary sodium excretion was (mean +/- SEM) 11 +/- 1 mmol on day 5 of the low sodium diet, and 294 +/- 17 mmol during the fifth day of the high sodium diet. Plasma ANF (supine and erect) was significantly lower (2.8 +/- 0.6, 1.6 +/- 0.2 pmol/l) on the low sodium diet when compared to the high sodium diet (8.6 +/- 2.4, 5.0 +/- 1.6 pmol/l (P < 0.05)). Supine and erect PRA and serum aldosterone were significantly higher on the low compared to the high sodium diet. Blood pressure responses were heterogeneous rather than bimodal. Mean arterial blood pressure was 107 +/- 3 mmHg on the low sodium diet and 111 +/- 4 mmHg on the high sodium diet (P < 0.05). Changes of blood pressure did not correlate with the changes of plasma ANF.

Conclusions: Failure of plasma atrial natriuretic factor to rise with increasing dietary sodium did not therefore determine the blood pressure response to the change in dietary sodium. No link was established between plasma atrial natriuretic factor response and sodium sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aldosterone / blood
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Hypertension / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renin / blood
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology
  • Sodium / urine
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage*


  • Sodium, Dietary
  • Aldosterone
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor
  • Sodium
  • Renin