Female spontaneously hypertensive rats have a compensatory increase in renal regulatory T cells in response to elevations in blood pressure

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Female spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) have more regulatory T cells (Tregs) in their kidneys than males. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of blood pressure (BP) on the renal immune profile. We hypothesize that increases in BP promote a proinflammatory renal T cell and cytokine profile in SHR, although females will have greater hormone-dependent increases in Tregs and males will have greater increases in Th17 cells. Renal T cell and cytokine profiles were assessed in male and female Wistar-Kyoto rats and male and female SHR treated with vehicle or hydrochlorothiazide and reserpine (HCTZ) from 6 to 12 (6-HCTZ) or 11 to 13 weeks of age (2-HCTZ). Regardless of sex, SHR had a more proinflammatory renal immune profile than Wistar-Kyoto rats. 6-HCTZ attenuated age-related increases in BP and 2-HCTZ reversed hypertension compared with vehicle-treated SHR. Neither 6-HCTZ nor 2-HCTZ altered CD3+, CD4 +, or CD8+ T cells in either sex. Both treatments decreased Tregs only in female SHR abolishing sex differences in Tregs. 6-HCTZ has no impact on Th17 cells in either sex and 2-HCTZ had a minimal impact on renal Th17 cells. To further assess mechanisms mediating sex differences in the renal immune profile, male and female SHR were gonadectomized to determine the impact of sex hormones. Gonadectomy increased proinflammatory markers in both sexes, suggesting that both male and female sex hormones are anti-inflammatory. In conclusion, BP contributes to sex differences in the renal T-cell profile of SHR; female SHR increase renal Tregs in response to increases in BP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-564
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014



  • Cytokines
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney
  • Sex identity
  • T-lymphocytes
  • Th17 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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