The present studies were designed to examine the effect of angiotensin II on baroreflex control of adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion and heart rate in conscious dogs. Baroreflex function was assessed by examining the relationship between blood pressure and plasma corticosteroid concentration (used as an index of adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion) and between blood pressure and pulse interval (the inverse of heart rate). Blood pressure was varied by intravenous infusion of four doses (0.3, 0.6, 1.5, and 3.0 μg/kg per min) of the vasodilator nitroprusside. Nitroprusside infusion produced an increase in plasma corticosteroid concentration and a decrease in pulse interval, both of which were linearly related to the fall in arterial blood pressure. During infusion of angiotensin II (10 ng/kg per min), however, the lines relating blood pressure to plasma corticosteroid concentration or blood pressure to pulse interval were shifted to a higher pressure level, suggesting that angiotensin II resets the baroreceptor reflex. Angiotensin II blockade with saralasin, an angiotensin II antagonist, or with captopril, a converting enzyme inhibitor, in sodium-depleted dogs with elevated plasma angiotensin II levels produced a shift in the opposite direction in these relationships. Because baroreflex function in sodium-depleted dogs before angiotensin II blockade was similar to that in sodium-replete dogs, despite the increased plasma angiotensin II levels, and because treatment of sodium-replete dogs with saralasin did not affect baroreflex function, these results suggest that endogenous angiotensin II is necessary for the maintenance of normal baroreflex control of adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion and heart rate during sodium depletion. Previous studies designed to evaluate the physiological significance of angiotensin II in the control of adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion showed that high, perhaps supraphysiological, levels of exogenous angiotensin II are required to increase adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion. An additional finding of the present study was that exogenous angiotensin II produces a larger increase in adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion when the pressor effect of angiotensin II was eliminated with simultaneous infusion of the vasodilators nitroprusside or hydralazine. This result suggests that experiments that evaluate the physiological role of angiotensin II in the control of adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion with infusions of exogenous AII may underestimate the importance of endogenously produced angiotensin II, which is normally released without an increase in pressure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine