Intermittent hypoxia exacerbates increased blood pressure in rats with chronic kidney disease.
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Kidney injury and sleep apnea (SA) are independent risk factors for hypertension. Exposing rats to intermittent hypoxia (IH) to simulate SA increases blood pressure whereas adenine feeding causes persistent kidney damage to model chronic kidney disease (CKD). We hypothesized that exposing CKD rats to IH would exacerbate the development of hypertension and renal failure. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a 0.2% adenine diet or control diet (Control) until blood urea nitrogen was >120 mg/dl in adenine-fed rats (14 ± 4 days, mean ± SE). After 2 wk of recovery on normal chow, rats were exposed to IH (20 exposures/h of 5% O2-5% CO2 7 h/day) or control conditions (Air) for 6 wk. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) was monitored with telemeters, and plasma and urine samples were collected weekly to calculate creatinine clearance as an index of glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Prior to IH, adenine-fed rats had higher blood pressure than rats on control diet. IH treatment increased MAP in both groups, and after 6 wk, MAP levels in the CKD/IH rats were greater than those in the CKD/Air and Control/IH rats. MAP levels in the Control/Air rats were lower than those in the other three groups. Kidney histology revealed crystalline deposits, tubule dilation, and interstitial fibrosis in both CKD groups. IH caused no additional kidney damage. Plasma creatinine was similarly increased in both CKD groups throughout whereas IH alone increased plasma creatinine. IH increases blood pressure further in CKD rats without augmenting declines in GFR but appears to impair GFR in healthy rats. We speculate that treating SA might decrease hypertension development in CKD patients and protect renal function in SA patients.