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Effect of increased potassium intake on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and subcutaneous resistance arteries: a randomized crossover study

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BACKGROUND: Increased potassium intake lowers blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive patients. The underlying mechanism is not fully understood but must be complex because increased potassium intake elevates circulating concentrations of the BP-raising hormone aldosterone.

METHODS: In a randomized placebo-controlled crossover study in 25 normotensive men, we investigated the effect of 4 weeks of potassium supplement (90 mmol/day) compared with 4 weeks of placebo on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), urine composition and 24-h ambulatory BP. Vascular function was also assessed through wire myograph experiments on subcutaneous resistance arteries from gluteal fat biopsies.

RESULTS: Higher potassium intake increased urinary potassium excretion (144.7 ± 28.7 versus 67.5 ± 25.5 mmol/24-h; P < 0.0001) and plasma concentrations of potassium (4.3 ± 0.2 versus 4.0 ± 0.2 mmol/L; P = 0.0002), renin {mean 16 [95% confidence interval (CI) 12-23] versus 11 [5-16] mIU/L; P = 0.0047}, angiotensin II [mean 10.0 (95% CI 6.2-13.0) versus 6.1 (4.0-10.0) pmol/L; P = 0.0025] and aldosterone [mean 440 (95% CI 336-521) versus 237 (173-386) pmol/L; P < 0.0001]. Despite RAAS activation, systolic BP (117.6 ± 5.8 versus 118.2 ± 5.2 mmHg; P = 0.48) and diastolic BP (70.8 ± 6.2 versus 70.8 ± 6.3 mmHg; P = 0.97) were unchanged. In the wire myograph experiments, higher potassium intake did not affect endothelial function as assessed by acetylcholine [logarithmically transformed half maximal effective concentration (pEC50): 7.66 ± 0.95 versus 7.59 ± 0.85; P = 0.86] and substance P (pEC50: 8.42 ± 0.77 versus 8.41 ± 0.89; P = 0.97) or vascular smooth muscle cell reactivity as assessed by angiotensin II (pEC50: 9.01 ± 0.86 versus 9.02 ± 0.59; P = 0.93) and sodium nitroprusside (pEC50: 7.85 ± 1.07 versus 8.25 ± 1.32; P = 0.25) but attenuated the vasodilatory response of retigabine (pEC50: 7.47 ± 1.16 versus 8.14 ± 0.90; P = 0.0084), an activator of Kv7 channels.

CONCLUSIONS: Four weeks of increased potassium intake activates the RAAS in normotensive men without changing BP and this is not explained by improved vasodilatory responses ex vivo.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNephrology, dialysis, transplantation : official publication of the European Dialysis and Transplant Association - European Renal Association
Volume36
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1282-1291
Number of pages10
ISSN0931-0509
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

ID: 60230503