Changes in the rate of formation of angiotensin II (ANG II) participate in mediating the natriuresis that occurs in direct response to a gastric sodium stimulus (upper-gut sodium monitor). As this natriuresis is also dependent on intrahepatic events, we investigated whether changes in hepatic and plasma angiotensinogen levels and hepatic angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity might explain the decrease in ANG II synthesis. Male Sprague–Dawley rats, equilibrated on a low-sodium diet, were anaesthetized and received a sodium load of 1.5 mmol/kg (using 3× normal saline) either intragastrically or intravenously. Blood and livers were sampled before and at various times after sodium administration. ACE activity in serum and tissues was determined by generation of histidyl-leucine. Angiotensinogen was determined by radioimmunoassay of angiotensin I generated by incubation in the presence of exogenous renin. Plasma angiotensinogen had decreased significantly by 15 min after sodium administration (P< 0.005), while hepatic angiotensinogen was also decreased significantly from 30 min after the sodium load (P< 0.01). Hepatic ACE activity decreased in response to sodium (P< 0.005) from 30 min. We conclude that stimulation of the gastric sodium monitor regulates angiotensinogen synthesis and secretion by the liver, as well as hepatic ACE activity.

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