Hypogonadal hypertension in male Sprague-Dawley rats is renin-angiotensin system-dependent: role of endogenous androgens Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Acutely, testosterone (TES) and other androgens are efficacious vasodilators, both in vitro and in vivo; however, their long-term effects on arterial blood pressure (BP) remain unclear. It was hypothesized that endogenous androgens exert long-term anti-hypertensive effects on systemic BP through a combination of genomic and nongenomic effects to enhance vasodilation of the systemic vasculature. METHODS: The long-term effects of endogenous TES and exogenous TES replacement therapy (TRT) on BP were studied in intact (InT) and castrated (CsX) male Sprague-Dawley (SD) and testicular-feminized male (Tfm, androgen receptor defective) rats (12 weeks old). Systolic BP (tail-cuff plethysmography) was determined weekly for 15 weeks in InT-control and CsX rats. Some CsX-SD rats received androgen replacement therapy at 10-15 weeks with TES-enanthate (TRT; 1.75 mg/kg, 2x/week) or DHT-enanthate (DRT; 1.00 mg/kg. 2x/week) and a separate group of CsX-SD rats received losartan-potassium in drinking water (LST, 250 mg/L) for the entire 15 week period. Expression of renin, angiotensinogen (Agt), angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), and angiotensin II type I receptor (AT1R) mRNA in kidney and aorta were determined by real-time PCR (rt-PCR) and plasma renin levels were determined by radioimmunoassay. RESULTS: There was a progressive rise in BP over 10 weeks in CsX (109 ± 3.3 vs. 143 ± 3.5 mmHg), while BP remained stable in InT-control (109 ± 3.0 vs. 113 ± 0.3). BP gradually declined to normal in CsX-TRT rats (113 ± 1.3), while BP remained elevated in CsX (140 ± 1.2) and normal in InT-control (113 ± 0.3). LST prevented the development of hypertension in CsX at 10 weeks (100 ± 1.5 in CsX + LST vs. 143 ± 3.5 in CsX). During the next 5 weeks with TES-RT, BP declined in CsX-TRT (113 ± 1.3) and remained lower in CsX + LST (99 ± 0.4). DHT-RT reduced BP in CxS to a similar extent. In Tfm, CsX resulted in a similar rise in BP (109 ± 0.7 vs. 139 ± 0.4 mmHg), but TRT reduced BP more rapidly and to a greater extent (106 ± 2.8). rt-PCR of the kidney revealed that CsX increased expression of mRNA for renin (92%), ACE (58%), and AT1R (80%) compared to InT, while TES RT normalized expression of renin, AT1R, and ACE mRNA to levels of InT rats. Plasma renin levels exhibited changes similar to those observed for renin mRNA expression. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to examine the long-term effects of endogenous and exogenous androgens on BP in male SD and Tfm rats. These data reveal that endogenous androgens (TES) exert anti-hypertensive effects that appear to involve non-genomic and possibly genomic mechanism(s), resulting in reductions in RAS expression in the kidney and enhanced systemic vasodilation.

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Hanson, A. E., Perusquia, M., & Stallone, J. N.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • August 2020