Salt-sensitive hypertension, increases in blood pressure in response to increased salt intake, is associated with an increased risk of morbidity, mortality, and end-organ damage compared with salt-resistant hypertension. The Dahl salt-sensitive (SS) rat mimics the phenotypic characteristics observed in human hypertension when rats are challenged with a high-salt diet. Our previous work demonstrated that environmental factors, such as dietary protein, alter the severity of salt sensitivity in Dahl SS rats and should be an important consideration in experimental design. The present study investigated how the bedding on which animals were maintained (wood vs. corncob) could impact the SS phenotype in the Dahl SS rat. Animals that were maintained on corncob bedding exhibited a significant attenuation in blood pressure and renal end-organ damage in response to a high-salt diet compared with animals maintained on wood bedding. This attenuation was associated with an improvement in renal function and reduction in immune cell infiltration into the kidneys of Dahl SS rats maintained on corncob bedding. These results indicate that the type of bedding impacts the SS phenotype in the Dahl SS rat and that the bedding used in experiments can be a confounding factor to consider during data interpretation and experimental design.
- kidney damage
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