Effects of high salt diets and taurine on the development of hypertension in the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat
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Taurine is present in high concentrations in mammalian tissues and has been implicated in cardiovascular control mechanisms. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the ability of taurine to attenuate salt-induced elevations in blood pressure and markers of damage to the kidney and cardiovascular system in stroke prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SPSHR). Male SPSHR (6 weeks old) were placed on high salt diets that contained 1% (w/w) NaCl added to their normal chow for 84 days and then were switched to 3% added NaCl for the remaining 63 days of the study. SPSHR was given 1.5% taurine in the drinking water (n = 8), a taurine free diet (n = 8) or normal chow (n = 8). A final control group (n = 6) was not given high salt diets. High salt diets caused an acceleration in the development of hypertension in all groups. Taurine supplementation reduced ventricular hypertrophy and decreased urinary excretion of protein and creatinine. The taurine free diet did not alter serum or urinary excretion of taurine, but did result in elevated urinary nitrogen excretion, increased serum cholesterol levels, and impaired performance in a spatial learning task. Alterations in dietary taurine intake did not alter urinary or serum electrolytes (Na+, K+), but taurine supplementation did attenuate a rise in serum calcium seen with the high salt diets. Urinary excretion (μg/24 h) of epinephrine and dopamine was significantly reduced in SPSHR given 1% NaCl in the diet, but this effect was not seen in SPSHR on taurine free or supplemented diets. Taurine supplementation showed cardioprotective and renoprotective effects in SPSHR given high salt diets.
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