1. The reflex control of arginine-vasopressin release was studied in 12 essential established hypertensive patients and in 12 age-matched normal subjects by comparing the effects of head-up tilt and a variable-pressure neck-chamber.
2. After 45 min 85° head-up tilt, normal subjects showed an increase in plasma arginine-vasopressin and in plasma renin activity, while plasma volume decreased. In hypertensive patients, plasma arginine-vasopressin showed changes after tilt opposite to those of controls, while the changes in plasma renin activity and plasma volume were similar to those observed in the normal group. In both groups the changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were not statistically significant. A reduction in carotid sinus transmural pressure obtained by increasing neck-tissue pressure (+ 50 mmHg) by means of a neck-chamber, evoked different responses in mean blood pressure in the two groups, but failed to induce any significant change in plasma arginine-vasopressin concentration both in the normal and in the hypertensive subjects.
3. These results seem to suggest that carotid sinus baroreceptors, though active in blood pressure control, do not play a direct role in arginine-vasopressin release and, therefore, the opposite response of arginine-vasopressin observed after tilt in the two groups of subjects should be ascribed to more complex mechanisms.