To determine the extent to which dietary sodium modulates aldosterone-induced cardiovascular damage, and to determine whether increased dietary potassium can prevent this damage, we used the Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME)/angiotensin II (Ang II) rat model of cardiac injury. This model is dependent on the presence of aldosterone for the occurrence of myocardial damage. Two sets of experiments were performed. In the first set, the following groups were studied: (1) 1% NaCl to drink (control group); (2) L-NAME/Ang II with water to drink (low salt group); (3) L-NAME/Ang II/1% NaCl (high salt group); (4) L-NAME/Ang II/1% NaCl/eplerenone (eplerenone group). Systolic blood pressure increased similarly in all groups compared with controls. Compared with the controls, the high salt group, but not the low salt or eplerenone groups, developed significant myocardial damage. In the second set of experiments three groups of animals were studied: (1) L-NAME/Ang II/1%NaCl (high salt group) (2) L-NAME/Ang II/1%NaCl/eplerenone (eplerenone group), and (3) L-NAME/Ang II/1%NaCl with an extra 1% KCl in food (high dietary potassium group). Eplerenone, but not dietary potassium supplementation, prevented the development of cardiac damage. Thus, mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist treatment and low sodium diet were effective in preventing cardiac damage, which suggests that a minimal level of aldosterone and a moderately high sodium diet are both required for the development of the cardiovascular damage in the L-NAME/Ang II model. The inability of potassium supplementation to reduce myocardial damage suggests that eplerenone’s protective effect is not due to its potassium-sparing ability, but is rather related to some other feature of its selective aldosterone antagonism.

Authors: Diego V Martinez, Ricardo Rocha, Mamiko Matsumura, Eveline Oestreicher, Margarita Ochoa-Maya, Weranuj Roubsanthisuk, Gordon H Williams, Gail K Adler
Keywords: metabolism, sodium-restricted diet, heart disease, potassium, mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist
DOI Number: 10.1161/hyp.39.2.614      Publication Year: 2018

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©2021 Primary Aldosteronism Foundation

The Primary Aldosteronism Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity. Donations are tax deductible in the US.