We compared the tubular transport of sodium and the erythrocyte sodium-lithium countertransport activity in hypertensive patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and in normotensive control subjects. In addition, we assessed the effects of inhibition of converting enzyme on renal hemodynamics and sodium excretion in hypertensive patients with ADPKD to provide information on mechanisms responsible for the increased renal vascular resistance and filtration fraction and the adjustment of the pressure-natriuresis relationship during saline expansion, observed in patients with ADPKD, hypertension, and preserved renal function. In comparison with normotensive control subjects, the hypertensive patients with ADPKD had lower renal plasma flows, higher renal vascular resistances and filtration fractions, and similar proximal and distal fractional reabsorptions of sodium. The administration of enalapril resulted in significant increases in the renal plasma flow and significant reductions in mean arterial pressure, renal vascular resistance, and filtration fraction, but the glomerular filtration rate remained unchanged. Despite the significant reduction in mean arterial pressure during inhibition of converting enzyme, the distal fractional reabsorption of sodium decreased while the total fractional excretion of sodium remained unchanged or increased slightly. No significant differences were detected between the normotensive control subjects and the hypertensive patients with ADPKD in erythrocyte sodium-lithium countertransport activity, plasma renin activity, plasma aldosterone concentration, or atrial natriuretic factor. These results suggest that the renal renin-angiotensin system plays a central role in the alterations in renal hemodynamics and sodium management associated with the development of hypertension in ADPKD.
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