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Involvement of the lymphatic system in salt-sensitive hypertension in humans

Fuqiang Liu, Jianjun Mu, Zuyi Yuan, Qiufang Lian, Shuhui Zheng, Guanji Wu, Enqi Liu

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(10): CR542-546

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.881978

Available online: 2011-10-01

Published: 2011-10-01

Background:    The mechanisms of salt sensitivity as an important intermediate phenotype of essential hypertension remain elusive. A novel theory proposes that lymphatic vessels regulate sodium and fluid homeostasis. Since vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) plays a vital role in lymphatic capillary hyperplasia, we hypothesized that VEGF-C was involved in salt-sensitive hypertension. We therefore investigated its plasma concentration in salt-sensitive subjects.
    Material/Methods:    Twenty-seven subjects (BP ≤160/100 mmHg; age range 25–50 years) from a rural community of northern China were enrolled in this study. The baseline BP of volunteers was monitored for 3 days, followed by a low-salt diet for 7 days (3 g/day, NaCl) and a high-salt diet for 7 days (18 g/day, NaCl). Those who exhibited a BP increase of 10% from low-salt period to high-salt period were diagnosed as salt-sensitive subjects. The concentration of plasma VEGF-C was measured by an immunoenzyme method (ELISA).
    Result:    High salt intake significantly increased the plasma VEGF-C level. It was higher in the salt-sensitive subjects (3642.2±406.1 pg/ml) than in the salt-resistant subjects (2249.8±214.6 pg/ml). The comparison of VEGF-C levels between the 2 groups had significant statistical difference (P<0.01).
    Conclusions:    The VEGF-C level increases significantly in the salt-sensitive subjects after high salt intake. VEGF-C could be used as a biomarker of salt sensitivity.

Keywords: Lymphatic System - physiology, Hypertension - metabolism, Homeostasis - physiology, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Diet, Sodium-Restricted, China, Blood Pressure, Biological Markers - blood, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Sodium Chloride - metabolism, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C - blood