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Félix Vargas, Antonio Fernandez-Rivas and Antonio Osuna

Vargas F, Fernandez-Rivas A, Osuna A. Effects of methimazole in the early and established phases of NG-nitro 4643 c-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester hypertension. Eur J Endocrinol 1996;135:506–13. ISSN 0804–

In the present study we evaluated the effects of methimazole, an antithyroid drug, on blood pressure and other variables in the early and established phases of hypertension induced by the inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis with the oral administration of NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME), 75 mg/100 ml in the drinking water. Moreover, we also evaluated the acute pressor effect of l-NAME on systemic blood pressure in control and rats treated chronically with methimazole, administered via drinking water (30 mg/100 ml). Oral administration of methimazole maintained the blood pressure of l-NAME-treated rats at normal levels 25 days after induction of hypertension. However, after 25 days of methimazole treatment in rats made hypertensive with l-NAME (for 25 days), high blood pressure was similar in methimazole-treated and non-treated l-NAME rats, despite the fact that a hypothyroid state had been achieved in the methimazole-treated rats. Acute intravenous injection of l-NAME caused a similar increase in mean arterial pressure in control and methimazole-treated rats at the lowest dose; however, smaller pressor responses were observed with increasing doses in hypothyroid rats. These results clearly demonstrate that hypothyroidism induced by methimazole prevents, but does not reverse, l-NAME hypertension and reduces the acute pressor responsiveness to l-NAME administration.

F Vargas, Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, E-18012, Granada, Spain

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Cipriano Garcia del Rio, María Rosario R Moreno, Antonio Osuna, Juan de Dios Luna, Joaquín García-Estañ and Félix Vargas


Objective: We evaluated the influence of chronic blockade of the renin-angiotensin system on hypertension induced by long-term thyroxine (T4) administration. To this end, we determined the effects of chronic treatment with captopril on blood pressure, cardiac hypertrophy and other renal and metabolic variables of hypertensive hyperthyroid rats.

Methods: T4 was administered s.c. at 0·38 μmol/kg per day and captopril was given in the drinking water (1·38 mmol/l). Both treatments were maintained for 6 weeks. Control rats received tap water. After the treatment period, the rats were placed in metabolic cages. Later, blood pressure was measured in conscious rats by intra-arterial determination.

Results: T4-treated rats showed an increased mean arterial pressure (MAP) whereas, in rats treated with T4 plus captopril, MAP was similar to that of the control group. Captopril did not affect the increased heart rate or ventricular weight/body weight ratio of hyperthyroid rats, but it improved the reduced creatinine clearance of these animals.

Conclusions: The elevation in blood pressure produced by long-term T4 administration was prevented by chronic blockade of the renin-angiotensin system. Captopril improved the renal function of hyperthyroid rats, but did not affect the relative cardiac hypertrophy of these animals.

European Journal of Endocrinology 136 656–660

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Félix Vargas, Juan Manuel Moreno, Isabel Rodríguez-Gómez, Rosemary Wangensteen, Antonio Osuna, Miriam Álvarez-Guerra and Joaquín García-Estañ

This review focuses on the effects of thyroid hormones in vascular and renal systems. Special emphasis is given to the mechanisms by which thyroid hormones affect the regulation of body fluids, vascular resistance and, ultimately, blood pressure. Vascular function is markedly affected by thyroid hormones that produce changes in vascular reactivity and endothelial function in hyper- and hypothyroidism. The hypothyroid state is accompanied by a marked decrease in sensitivity to vasoconstrictors, especially to sympathetic agonists, alteration that may play a role in the reduced blood pressure of hypothyroid rats, as well as in the preventive effects of hypothyroidism on experimental hypertension. Moreover, in hypothyroid rats, the endothelium-dependent and nitric oxide donors vasodilation is reduced. Conversely, the vessels from hyperthyroid rats showed an increased endothelium-dependent responsiveness that may be secondary to the shear-stress induced by the hyperdynamic circulation, and that may contribute to the reduced vascular resistance characteristic of this disease. Thyroid hormones also have important effects in the kidney, affecting renal growth, renal haemodynamics, and salt and water metabolism. In hyperthyroidism, there is a resetting of the pressure-natriuresis relationship related to hyperactivity of the reninangiotensin system, which contributes to the arterial hypertension associated with this endocrine disease. Moreover, thyroid hormones affect the development and/or maintenance of various forms of arterial hypertension. This review also describes recent advances in our understanding of thyroid hormone action on nitric oxide and oxidative stress in the regulation of cardiovascular and renal function and in the long-term control of blood pressure.