Partial protection from salt-induced stroke and mortality by high oral calcium in hypertensive rats.
Repeated demonstration of an antihypertensive effect of high oral calcium in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats led us to determine whether it also protects such rats from premature mortality and stroke-related lesions.
Female stroke-prone rats (11-13 per diet) were fed high- and low-calcium (2.0% and 0.4%, respectively) diets with both high and low salt (7.0% and 0.3%, respectively) content from age 4 weeks until spontaneous death. In addition to life span, other variables measured included blood pressures, plasma chemistries, and histological characterization of stroke-related lesions.
Life span was increased from 51 +/- 4 to 68 +/- 1 weeks (p less than 0.05) by high versus low oral calcium in rats fed high-salt diets; it was further increased to greater than or equal to 82 weeks (p less than 0.05) in rats fed low-salt (+/- added calcium) diets. As seen previously, high oral calcium attenuated salt-induced hypertension but did not affect blood pressure in rats fed low-salt diets. High versus low oral calcium exerted contrasting effects (p less than 0.05) on brain lesions (hemorrhages and infarctions) in rats fed high-salt diets, decreasing lesion size (242 +/- 21 versus 712 +/- 276 microns per rat [diameters seen in histological sections]) but increasing lesion number (8.9 +/- 2.4 versus 3.4 +/- 2.2 per rat); it exerted little influence on the few brain lesions that appeared in rats fed low-salt diets.
High oral calcium may protect stroke-prone hypertensive rats from early salt-induced mortality at least partially by decreasing severity (size) of stroke-related lesions, an effect which may relate to decreased blood pressure. However, this protection may be limited by increased number (incidence) of such lesions, an effect which suggests that high oral calcium may increase the number of brain vessels susceptible to stroke-related injury independent of change in blood pressure.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association