ABSTRACT: Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) is used to manage hypertension and heart failure; however, its side effects include mild hypokalemia, metabolic abnormalities, and volume depletion, which might have deleterious effects on renal and endothelial function. We studied whether HCTZ cause renal injury and/or altered vasoreactivity and if these changes are hypokalemia-dependent. Rats were given a normal diet or a diet moderately low in potassium K+ with or without HCTZ. Animals fed either a low K+ diet alone or HCTZ developed mild hypokalemia. There was no significant difference in systolic blood pressure in the different treatment groups. All three groups with hypokalemia had mild proteinuria; low K(+)-HCTZ rats had reduced creatinine clearance. HCTZ-treated rats displayed hypomagnesemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and hyperaldosteronism. No renal injury was observed in the groups without HCTZ; however, increased kidney weight, glomerular ischemia, medullary injury, and cortical oxidative stress were seen with HCTZ treatment. Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation was reduced in all hypokalemic groups and correlated with reduced serum K+, serum, and urine nitric oxide. Our results show that HCTZ is associated with greater renal injury for the same degree of hypokalemia as the low K+ diet, suggesting that factors such as chronic ischemia and hyperaldosteronism due to volume depletion may be responsible agents. We also found impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation was linked to mild hypokalemia.
Kidney International 01/2008; 72(12):1483-92. · 6.61 Impact Factor