Insulin resistance is associated with hypertension by mechanisms likely involving the kidney. To determine how the major apical sodium transporter of the thick ascending limb, the bumetanide-sensitive Na-K-2Cl cotransporter (NKCC2) is regulated by high-fat feeding, we treated young male, Fischer 344 X Brown Norway (F344BN) rats for 8 wk with diets containing either normal (NF, 4%) or high (HF, 36%) fat, by weight, primarily as lard. HF-fed rats had impaired glucose tolerance, increased urine excretion of 8-isoprostane (a marker of oxidative stress), increased protein levels for NKCC2 (50–125%) and the renal outer medullary potassium channel (106%), as well as increased natriuretic response to furosemide (20–40%). To test the role of oxidative stress in this response, in study 2, rats were fed the NF or HF diet plus plain drinking water, or water containing NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor (100 mg/l), or tempol, a superoxide dismutase mimetic (1 mmol/l). The combination of tempol with HF nullified the increase in medullary NKCC2, while l-NAME with HF led to the highest expression of medullary NKCC2 (to 498% of NF mean). However, neither of these drugs dramatically affected the elevated natriuretic response to furosemide with HF. Finally, l-NAME led to a marked increase in blood pressure (measured by radiotelemetry), which was significantly enhanced with HF. Mean arterial blood pressure at 7 wk was as follows (mmHg): NF, 100 ± 2; NF plus l-NAME, 122 ± 3; and HF plus l-NAME, 131 ± 2. Overall, HF feeding increased the abundance of NKCC2. Inappropriately high sodium reabsorption in the thick ascending limb via NKCC2 may contribute to hypertension with insulin resistance
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