Endogenous ouabain: A link between sodium intake and hypertension

John M. Hamlyn, Paolo Manunta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sodium pump, an ancestral enzyme with conserved ability to bind ouabain, plays a key role in salt conservation and is regulated by aldosterone and endogenous ouabain (EO). Plasma EO is elevated in about 45% of patients with essential hypertension and correlates with blood pressure. The relationship of EO with Na+ balance is complex. Na+ depletion raises circulating EO, whereas acute saline loads have no effect on EO in essential hypertension, and ambient levels of EO are unrelated to the saline sensitivity of blood pressure. Short-term periods of high dietary salt elevate EO and the relationship with salt balance in normal individuals is V-shaped, whereas the long-term relationship is likely to be L-shaped. Normal individuals suppress the high EO transient triggered by high-salt diets and avoid hypertension. In contrast, patients with elevated EO on normal Na+ intakes have hypertension related to poor modulation of EO biosynthesis, clearance, or both.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Hypertension Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Blood pressure
  • Diet
  • Mechanism
  • Sodium pump
  • Steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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