1. To determine the possible role of arterial cyclic AMP in the pathogenesis of hypertensive vascular hypertrophy and hyperplasia, the changes in the level of this nucleotide were studied during the development of renal hypertension in rats with aortic ligation between the renal arteries.
2. A twofold increase in the cyclic AMP level of the thoracic aorta was observed in 9-day hypertensive rats when compared with sham-operated controls. At this time the total amounts of DNA and collagen were unchanged, although a marked increase in arterial fibrous protein was already present.
3. Arterial cyclic AMP remained significantly elevated in the thoracic aorta of 30-day hypertensive animals. At this time the hypertensive vascular alterations had reached completion as shown by the abnormal accumulation of collagen, DNA and non-fibrous protein.
4. Contrary to the events taking place in the thoracic aorta, a marked decrease in cyclic AMP was present in the abdominal portion, which was protected from high blood pressure by the aortic ligature. in this segment decreased cyclic AMP coexisted with an unchanged collagen content and a diminution in the contents of DNA and non-fibrous protein.
5. Thus a marked increase in arterial cyclic AMP precedes the initiation of DNA replication and collagen accumulation in vascular territories subjected to high blood pressure. These studies suggest the participation of this nucleotide in the vascular growth induced by hypertension.