This work was supported by a grant from the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC, Project grant 1065714) and in part by the Victorian Government’s OIS Program. Investigators were supported by NHMRC/National Heart Foundation (NHF) Postdoctoral Fellowships (NHMRC APP1091688 to KLJ, NHMRC APP1052659 and NHF PF12M6785 and 101185 to FZM) and NHMRC Research Fellowships (APP1042492 to GWL and APP1002186 to GAH).
Genetically hypertensive mice (BPH/2J) are hypertensive because of an exaggerated contribution of the sympathetic nervous system to blood pressure. We hypothesize that an additional contribution to elevated blood pressure is via sympathetically mediated activation of the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system. Our aim was to determine the contribution of the renin-angiotensin system and sympathetic nervous system to hypertension in BPH/2J mice. BPH/2J and normotensive BPN/3J mice were preimplanted with radiotelemetry devices to measure blood pressure. Depressor responses to ganglion blocker pentolinium (5 mg/kg i.p.) in mice pretreated with the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalaprilat (1.5 mg/kg i.p.) revealed a 2-fold greater sympathetic contribution to blood pressure in BPH/2J mice during the active and inactive period. However, the depressor response to enalaprilat was 4-fold greater in BPH/2J compared with BPN/3J mice, but only during the active period (P=0.01). This was associated with 1.6-fold higher renal renin messenger RNA (mRNA; P=0.02) and 0.8-fold lower abundance of micro-RNA-181a (P=0.03), identified previously as regulating human renin mRNA. Renin mRNA levels correlated positively with depressor responses to pentolinium (r=0.99; P=0.001), and BPH/2J mice had greater renal sympathetic innervation density as identified by tyrosine hydroxylase staining of cortical tubules. Although there is a major sympathetic contribution to hypertension in BPH/2J mice, the renin-angiotensin system also contributes, doing so to a greater extent during the active period and less during the inactive period. This is the opposite of the normal renin-angiotensin system circadian pattern. We suggest that renal hyperinnervation and enhanced sympathetically induced renin synthesis mediated by lower micro-RNA-181a contributes to hypertension in BPH/2J mice.