The intrarenal renin-angiotensin system (RAS) may contribute to the pathophysiology of heart failure by the generation of angiotensin II at local sites within the kidneys. Angiotensin II may directly influence renal hemodynamics, glomerular contractility, and tubular sodium reabsorption, thereby promoting sodium and fluid retention in this syndrome. In the present study, we examined components of the circulating RAS as well as the intrarenal expressions of renin and angiotensinogen mRNA in rats with stable compensated heart failure (HF) 12 wk after experimental myocardial infarction. Renal angiotensinogen mRNA level in vehicle-treated HF rats increased 47%, as compared with sham control rats (P = 0.001). The increase in angiotensinogen mRNA levels was more pronounced in animals with medium (46%, P < 0.05) and large (66%, P < 0.05) infarcts than in those with small infarcts (31%, P = NS). There were no differences in liver angiotensinogen mRNA, circulating angiotensinogen, angiotensin II, plasma renin concentration (PRC), kidney renin content (KRC), and renal renin mRNA level between sham and HFv. In addition, in a separate group of rats with heart failure, we demonstrated that renal angiotensin II concentration increased twofold (P < 0.05) as compared with that of age-matched sham operated controls. A parallel group of heart failure rats (HFe, n = 11) was treated with enalapril (25 mg/kg per d) in drinking water for 6 wk before these measurements. Blood pressure decreased significantly during treatment (91 vs. 103 mm Hg, P < 0.05). Enalapril treatment in HF rats increased renin mRNA level (2.5-fold, P < 0.005), KRC (5.6-fold, P = 0.005), and PRC (15.5-fold, P < 0.005). The increase in renal angiotensinogen mRNA level observed in HFv rats was markedly attenuated in enalapril treated HF rats (P < 0.001), suggesting a positive feedback of angiotensin II on renal angiotensinogen synthesis. These findings demonstrate an activation of intrarenal RAS, but no changes in the circulating counterpart in this model of experimental heart failure, and they support the concept that the intrinsic renal RAS may contribute to the pathophysiology in this syndrome.
H Schunkert, J R Ingelfinger, A T Hirsch, S S Tang, S E Litwin, C E Talsness, V J Dzau