Sodium-induced rise in blood pressure is suppressed by androgen receptor blockade

Ann Caplea, Darcie Seachrist, Gail Dunphy, Daniel Ely


Our objective was to test the hypothesis that1) a high Na (HNa, 3%) diet would increase blood pressure (BP) in male Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) and spontaneously hypertensive Y chromosome (SHR/y) rat strains in a territorial colony; 2) sympathetic nervous system (SNS) blockade using clonidine would lower BP on a HNa diet; and 3) prepubertal androgen receptor blockade with flutamide would lower BP on a HNa diet. A 2 × 4 factorial design used rat strains (WKY, SHR/y) and treatment [0.3% normal Na (NNa), 3% HNa, HNa/clonidine, and HNa/flutamide]. BP increased in both strains on the HNa diet (P < 0.0001). There was no significant decrease in BP in either strain with clonidine treatment. Androgen receptor blockade with flutamide significantly decreased BP in both strains (P < 0.0001) and normalized BP in the SHR/y colony. Neither heart rate nor activity could explain these BP differences. In conclusion, a Na sensitivity was observed in both strains, which was reduced to normotensive values by androgen blockade but not by SNS blockade.

  • hypertension
  • testosterone
  • salt
  • territorial stress
  • clonidine
  • sympathetic nervous system
  • flutamide
  • kidney


  • This research was supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Grants HL-48072-07, and by the Ohio Board of Regents Grants to the Hypertension Center, University of Akron.

  • Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: A. Caplea, Dept. of Biology, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-3908 (E-mail: Ely1{at}

  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. The article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

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