The aim of this work was to study the effect of a high sodium (HS) diet on blood pressure and renal function in male adult rats that have been treated with a dual Endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA) during their early postnatal period (day 1 to 20 of life). Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided in four groups: CNS: control rats with normosodic diet; ERANS: ERA-treated rats with normosodic diet; CHS: control rats with high sodium diet; ERAHS: ERA-treated rats with HS diet. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was recorded before and after the diet and 24-hour metabolic cage studies were performed. AQP2 and α-ENac expressions were measured by western blot and real time PCR in the renal medulla. Vasopressin (AVP) pathway was evaluated by measuring V2 receptor and adenylyl cyclase 6 (AC6) expression and cAMP production in the renal medulla. Pre-pro ET-1mRNA was also evaluated in the renal medulla. Only rats that had been treated with an ERA during their postnatal period increased their SBP after consumption of a HS diet, showing an impaired capacity to excrete sodium and water, i.e. developing salt sensitivity. This salt sensitivity would be mediated by an increase in renomedullary expression and activity of AQP2 and α-ENaC as a consequence of increased AC6 expression and cAMP production and/or a decreased ET-1 production in the renal medulla. The knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying the perinatal programming of salt sensitive hypertension will allow the development of reprogramming strategies in order to avoid this pathology.
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