1. Micropuncture and clearance experiments in two-kidney, one-clip renal vascular hypertensive rats examined the ability of the kidney contralateral to renal vascular stenosis to maintain renal function during conditions of reduced renal arterial blood pressure.
2. At their respective spontaneous blood pressures, renal vascular resistance was higher and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal blood flow were not different in the contralateral kidneys of the hypertensive rats (170 ± 5 mmHg) compared with normal animals (129 ± 1 mmHg). Urine flow and absolute and fractional excretion of electrolyte were greater from the kidneys of the hypertensive animals. However, pressures in cortical structures were similar in the two groups.
3. As blood pressure was reduced acutely, the kidney contralateral to the renal artery stenosis achieved only small decreases in renal vascular resistance that failed to allow GFR, renal blood flow or pressures in cortical structures to be maintained. In contrast, normal rats efficiently autoregulated renal vascular resistance to allow GFR, renal blood flow and cortical pressures to be unchanged as blood pressure was altered between 130 and 115 mmHg. Urine flow and electrolyte excretion decreased to a greater extent in the hypertensive kidneys; at comparable blood pressure these indices of excretory function were not different in the two groups.
4. These observations indicate that the contralateral kidney can maintain normal haemodynamic and glomerular function only at elevated blood pressure and suggest the possibility that the impaired capacity to autoregulate renal resistances may contribute to the maintenance of hypertension observed in this model.