The role of angiotensin ll and oxidative stress in the spontaneously hypertensive rat.
Govender, Melvin M.
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Oxidative stress resulting from an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants is considered to be an important etiological factor in the development and maintenance of hypertension. Angiotensin II (Ang II) has been shown to be an important regulator of blood pressure and acts to elevate blood pressure by its pressor effects. The pressor effects of Ang II are well documented but recent evidence has suggested another possible role of Ang II in elevating blood pressure, whereby it acts via an independent mechanism that is directly linked with oxidative stress. The spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) is a widely used model in the investigation of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in hypertension. This study was therefore undertaken to determine whether Ang II acts as a causative factor via oxidative stress in the development and maintenance of hypertension in the SHR. This was elucidated by evaluating the role of both the endogenous in vivo levels of Ang II as well as an exogenous sub-pressor dose of Ang II, on oxidative stress and its associated parameters. The parameters evaluated included, the antioxidant status of the model on the basis of the levels of the major antioxidant enzymes viz. SOD, GPx and catalase; the free radical generating capacity, by assessing the activity of the membrane bound enzyme NADPH oxidase and the levels of H2O2. The study also evaluated the levels of the endogenous vasodilator nitric oxide (NO), remodelling of the vasculature and the level of tissue oxidative stress in the kidney. The results show that the SHR has an elevated plasma Ang II level and an elevated level of oxidative stress, thus showing that in this model there is an intimate link between oxidative stress and Ang II. The SHR also shows depleted levels of NO and thus a decreased vasodilatory capacity and increased remodelling of the vasculature. The kidney showed an increased level of lipid peroxidation, which was due to the elevated levels of oxidative stress. All of these pathophysiological changes contribute to the elevation in blood pressure in this model. The long term infusion of the sub-pressor dose of Ang II affected the SHR to a greater extent than the Wistar. Although the dose of Ang II elevated the blood pressure in both models, the degree of the pathophysiological changes associated with the elevation in blood pressure was greater in the SHR. The Ang II infusion in both these models demonstrated that in the SHR which is genetically predisposed to hypertension, adjustments are made to the antioxidant system, that result in an elevated level of protection against oxidative stress. These results show that Ang II acts as a causative factor in the pathogenesis of hypertension in the SHR via its well documented pressor effects, as well as via a multitude of independent mechanisms that are linked to oxidative stress. This is substantiated by the significant decrease in NO that is caused by the elevated oxidative stress, as well as the previously described pathophysiological changes. This study has therefore shown that Ang II has an intimate causative link with oxidative stress that results in parallel mechanisms that work concomitantly with each other in hypertension in this model.