Cardiopulmonary receptor modulation of plasma renin activity in normotensive and hypertensive subjects

G. Grassi, C. Giannattasio, A. Saino, E. Sabadini, A. Capozi, L. Sampieri, C. Cuspidi, G. Mancia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiopulmonary receptors modulate renin release in several animal species. However their involvement in reflex control of this humoral substance in humans is controversial. Furthermore, no information is available on the alteration of this control in hypertension. We studied the modulation of plasma renin activity (radioimmunoassay) in 12 normotensive subjects and in 12 age-matched subjects with untreated hypertension of mild or moderate degree. Cardiopulmonary receptors were stimulated by increasing central venous pressure (right atrial catheter) and cardiac volume (echocardiographic measurement) through passive leg raising and deactivated by reducing central venous pressure and cardiac volume through lower body negative pressure. The stimuli were maintained for 20 to 30 minutes, and their degree was set to avoid changes in blood pressure (indirect or direct measurements) and heart rate, thus avoiding involvement of arterial baroreceptors. In normotensive subjects, deactivation of cardiopulmonary receptors induced a progressive rise in plasma renin activity and stimulation of cardiopulmonary receptors induced a progressive fall. The reflex gain (ratio between plasma renin activity and central venous pressure or cardiac volume changes) was similar for deactivation and stimulation. During cardiopulmonary receptor deactivation, the gain corresponded to that obtained by dividing the increase in plasma renin by the reduction in central venous pressure induced by tilting. Cardiopulmonary receptor deactivation and stimulation also induced clear-cut changes in plasma renin activity in hypertensive subjects, but the percent magnitude of the reflex plasma renin activity excursion was less than that in normotensive subjects. These observations indicate that cardiopulmonary receptors modulate plasma renin activity in humans. This modulation is presumably responsible for the rise in plasma renin activity occurring during changes in posture. The cardiopulmonary receptor modulation of renin remains operative, although with a reduced effectiveness, in mild or moderate essential hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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