Abdominal obesity and/or a high intake of fructose may cause hypertension. K+ channels, Na/K-ATPase, and voltage-gated Ca2+ channels are crucial determinants of resistance artery tone and thus the control of blood pressure. Limited information is available on the role of K+ transporters in long-term diet-induced hypertension in rats. We hypothesized that a 28-week diet rich in fat, fructose, or both, will lead to changes in K+ transporter expression and function, which is associated with increased blood pressure and decreased arterial function. Male Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats received a diet containing normal chow (Control), high-fat chow (High Fat), high-fructose in drinking water (High Fructose), or a combination of high-fat and high-fructose diet (High Fat/Fruc) for 28 weeks from the age of 4 weeks. Measurements included body weight (BW), systolic blood pressure (SBP), mRNA expression of vascular K+ transporters, and vessel myography in small mesenteric arteries (SMAs). BW was increased in the High Fat and High Fat/Fruc groups, and SBP was increased in the High Fat/Fruc group. mRNA expression of small conductance calcium-activated K+ channel (SKCa), intermediate conductance calcium-activated K+ (IKCa), and Kir2.1 inward rectifier K+ channels were reduced in the High Fat/Fruc group. Reduced endothelium-derived hyperpolarization (EDH)-type relaxation to acetylcholine (ACh) was seen in the High Fat and High Fat/Fruc groups. Ba2+-sensitive dilatation to extracellular K+ was impaired in all the experimental diet groups. In conclusion, reduced expression and function of SKCa, IKCa, and Kir2.1 channels are associated with elevated blood pressure in rats fed a long-term High Fat/Fruc. Rats fed a 28-week High Fat/Fruc provide a relevant model of diet-induced hypertension.

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