1. Intra-erythrocyte sodium, potassium, ATP and (Na+,K+-activated)-ATPase concentrations and urinary aldosterone excretion were compared in 3-month-old spontaneously hypertensive rats (n = 11) and normotensive Wistar-Kyoto control rats (n = 11).
2. Spontaneously hypertensive rats exhibited significantly higher intra-erythrocyte sodium concentration (5.5 ± 1.3 vs 4.0 ± 1.1 mmol/l of erythrocytes, P < 0.01). No significant difference was found in intra-erythrocyte potassium, ATP or (Na+,K+-activated)-ATPase concentration.
3. Mean urinary aldosterone excretion was significantly lower in spontaneously hypertensive rats (66.3 ± 6.5 pmol/24 h) than in Wistar-Kyoto rats (90.5 ± 10.6 pmol/24 h, P < 0.01). No significant relationship between urinary aldosterone and intra-erythrocyte sodium concentration was found in spontaneously hypertensive or Wistar-Kyoto rats or in the pooled group.
4. These results are thus consistent with previous findings of an increased intracellular sodium concentration in spontaneously hypertensive rats, but do not support the hypothesis that aldosterone is a dominant regulator of intracellular sodium concentration.