1. To determine the relevance of renal circulatory abnormalities found in the immature spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) to the genetic hypertensive process, glomerular filtration rate and renal blood flow were measured in conscious F2 rats, derived from crossbreeding SHR and normotensive Wistar–Kyoto rats (WKY), at 4, 11 and 16 weeks of age by determining the renal clearances of 51Cr-ethylenediaminetetra-acetate and 125I-hippuran respectively. Plasma renin activity was measured at 11 and 16 weeks of age.
2. Mean arterial pressure, glomerular filtration rate and renal blood flow increased between 4 and 11 weeks of age. Between 11 and 16 weeks the mean glomerular filtration rate and renal blood flow did not alter, although the mean arterial pressure rose significantly. At 11 weeks of age, during the developmental phase of hypertension, a significant negative correlation between mean arterial pressure and both glomerular filtration rate and renal blood flow was noted. However, by 16 weeks when the manifestations of genetic hypertension were more fully expressed, no correlation between mean arterial pressure and renal blood flow or glomerular filtration rate was observed. Plasma renin activity was negatively correlated with both glomerular filtration rate and renal blood flow, but the relationship was stronger at 11 than at 16 weeks of age.
3. These results suggest that the reduction in renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate, found in immature SHR, is genetically linked to the hypertension and may be of primary pathogenetic importance. It is proposed that the increased renal vascular resistance in these young animals stimulates the rise of systemic arterial pressure which returns renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate to normal.