Altered dopaminergic responses in hypertension

Barbara A. Clark*, Robert M. Rosa, Franklin H. Epstein, James B. Young, Lewis Landsberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Biogenic amine metabolism may be altered in hypertension and thus contribute to its pathophysiology. This report describes an abnormality in dopamine excretion in hypertensive subjects in the postabsorptive state that persists despite an increase in dietary precursors for dopamine supplied by a protein meal. We studied seven normotensive and six nonmedicated hypertensive men after two different meals: 60 g protein and a noncaloric electrolyte-equivalent broth. Overall mean sodium excretion was 56% higher in the hypertensive group throughout both meal studies (p<0.01), implying higher chronic dietary sodium intake. Despite this, overall urinary excretion of dopamine tended to be lower in hypertensive than in normotensive subjects (p=0.06). Hypertensive also differed from normotensive subjects in their response to protein feeding. In the normotensive subjects there was a 23% increase in urinary dopamine excretion (p<0.05), which was not seen after the noncaloric meal. In the hypertensive subjects, there was no change in urinary dopamine after the protein meal. In the normotensive subjects there was a 74% increase in sodium excretion (p<0.01) after the protein meal, but no significant change was seen in the hypertensive subjects. There were no differences in baseline renal plasma flow or glomerular filtration rate between the groups and no statistically significant differences between the groups in their renal hemodynamic responses to the meals. In summary, hypertensive subjects have less renal dopamine production for the amount of sodium ingested and a decreased renal dopamine production in response to a protein load as compared with normotensive subjects, consistent with a renal defect in conversion of DOPA to dopamine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-594
Number of pages6
Issue number6 PART 1
StatePublished - Jun 1992


  • Dopamine
  • Essential hypertension
  • Kidney
  • Protein
  • Sodium excretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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