The effects of chronic treatment with an AT
receptor antagonist (L-158,809) on hypertension development and cardiovascular changes were studied in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY). L-158,809 treatment (0.6 mg/kg PO) was initiated at 3 weeks of age and lasted 12 weeks, to 15 weeks of age. The treatment prevented hypertension development in the SHR (systolic blood pressure, BP, of 136±1 mm Hg compared with 198±3 mm Hg in control SHR), and lowered the BP of WKY (99±2 vs 128±1 mm Hg in control WKY). Treatment significantly reduced the heart weight in SHR and WKY. Ten weeks after treatment withdrawal (25 weeks of age), BP had increased in SHR and WKY to 172±8 and 117±3 mm Hg, respectively. Body weight and kidney weight were not affected by the treatment. Mesenteric arteries from treated SHR were less responsive than control SHR arteries to periarterial nerve stimulations at transmural pressures higher than 80 mm Hg (15 and 25 weeks). Control WKY arteries were less responsive than control SHR arteries at almost all transmural pressures tested (15 weeks) and to pressures greater than 80 mm Hg (25 weeks). Pretreatment of arteries with 10
mol/L angiotensin II enhanced their response to nerve stimulation in vessels from control SHR and WKY (25 weeks) but not from treatment-withdrawn SHR and WKY. Treatment did not alter arterial reactivity in response to norepinephrine. Alteration in arterial structure due to L-158,809 treatment was found only when measured at a transmural pressure of 100 mm Hg. In conclusion, L-158,809 was effective in preventing hypertension during the treatment period, in reducing hypertension severity during the withdrawal period, and in persistently decreasing the reactivity of the arteries.