Dietary sodium affects function of the beta-2 adrenoceptor (ADRB2). We tested the hypothesis that haplotype variation in the ADRB2 gene would influence the cardiovascular and regional vasodilator responses to sympathoexcitatory manoeuvres following low, normal and high sodium diets, and ADRB2-mediated forearm vasodilation in the high sodium condition. Seventy-one healthy young adults were grouped by double homozygous haplotypes: Arg16+Gln27 (n = 31), the rare Gly16+Gln27 (n = 10) and Gly16+Glu27 (n = 30). Using a randomized cross-over design, subjects were studied following 5 days of controlled low, normal and high sodium with 1 month or longer between diets (and low hormone phase of the menstrual cycle). All three visits utilized ECG and finger plethysmography for haemodynamic measures, and the high sodium visit included a brachial arterial catheter for forearm vasodilator responses to isoprenaline with plethysmography. Lymphocytes were sampled for ex vivo analysis of ADRB2 density and binding conformation. We found a main effect of haplotype on ADRB2 density (P = 0.03) with the Gly16+Glu27 haplotype having the greatest density (low, normal, high sodium: 12.9 ± 0.9, 13.5 ± 0.9 and 13.6 ± 0.8 fmol mg-1 protein, respectively) and Arg16+Gln27 having the least (9.3 ± 0.6, 10.1 ± 0.5 and 10.3 ± 0.6 fmol mg-1 protein, respectively), but there were no sodium or haplotype effects on receptor binding conformation. In the mental stress trial, there was a main effect of haplotype on cardiac output (P = 0.04), as Arg16+Gln27 had the lowest responses. Handgrip and forearm vasodilation yielded no haplotype differences, and no correlations were present for ADRB2 density and haemodynamics. Our findings support cell-based evidence that ADRB2 haplotype influences ADRB2 protein expression independent of dietary sodium, yet the haemodynamic consequences appear modest in healthy humans.
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