1. Phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) converts noradrenaline into adrenaline and brain PNMT is elevated in spontaneously hypertensive and deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertensive rats. In view of the evidence for the involvement of central adrenergic neurons in renal hypertension, we measured the blood pressure response in one-clip, one-kidney Goldblatt hypertensive and DOCA-salt hypertensive rabbits to the PNMT inhibitor SK&F 64139, injected into the lateral cerebral ventricles.

2. Intracerebroventricular injection of SK&F 64139 (10 μg/kg) significantly attenuated the mean arterial blood pressure rise in one-clip, one-kidney and DOCA-salt rabbits, at 4 and 8 weeks.

3. These findings support the idea that hypertension in this animal model requires an intact adrenaline biosynthetic process, and that central catecholaminergic neurons may be involved in the pathogenesis of low-renin volume dependent forms of hypertension.

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