Hypertension remains the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Young females tend to be protected from hypertension compared with age-matched males. Although it has become increasingly clear that the immune system plays a key role in the development of hypertension in both sexes, few studies have examined how cytokines mediate hypertension in males versus females. We previously published that there are sex differences in the levels of the cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that TNF-α inhibition with etanercept will lower BP in male and female SHR. However, as male SHR have a more pro-inflammatory status than female SHR, we further hypothesize that males will have a greater decrease in BP with TNF-α inhibition than females. Young adult male and female SHR were administered increasing doses of the TNF-α inhibitor etanercept or vehicle twice weekly for 31 days and BP was continuously measured via telemetry. Following treatment, kidneys and urine were collected and analyzed for markers of inflammation and injury. Despite significantly decreasing renal TNF-α levels, renal phospho-NFκB and urinary MCP-1 excretion, etanercept did not alter BP in either male or female SHR. Interestingly, treatment with etanercept increased urinary excretion of protein, creatinine and KIM-1 in both sexes. These results indicate that TNF-α does not contribute to sex differences in BP in SHR but may be vital in the maintenance of renal health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies