Leptin, an adipose tissue hormone which regulates food intake, is also involved in the pathogenesis of arterial hypertension. Plasma leptin concentration is increased in obese individuals. Chronic leptin administration or transgenic overexpression increases blood pressure in experimental animals, and some studies indicate that plasma leptin is elevated in hypertensive subjects independently of body weight. Leptin has a dose- and time-dependent effect on urinary sodium excretion. High doses of leptin increase Na+ excretion in the short run; partially by decreasing renal Na+,K+-ATPase (sodium pump) activity. This effect is mediated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and is impaired in animals with dietary-induced obesity. In contrast to acute, chronic elevation of plasma leptin to the level observed in patients with the metabolic syndrome impairs renal Na+ excretion, which is associated with the increase in renal Na+,K+-ATPase activity. This effect results from oxidative stress-induced deficiency of nitric oxide and/or transactivation of epidermal growth factor receptor and subsequent stimulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases. Ameliorating “renal leptin resistance” or reducing leptin level and/or leptin signaling in states of chronic hyperleptinemia may be a novel strategy for the treatment of arterial hypertension associated with the metabolic syndrome.
Keywords: leptin, renal Na+ transport, Na+, K+-ATPase, obesity, arterial hypertension, oxidative stress
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