High and Low Dietary Potassium Effects on Rat Vascular Sodium Pump Activity

Emel Songu-Mize, Robert William Caldwell, Philip G. Baer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Studies of renal and other tissues suggest that chronic elevation or reduction of dietary potassium intake could affect vascular smooth muscle sodium pump (Na-pump) activity. To examine this possibility, the effects of 3 weeks of low (LK; 4 mmole KCl/kg chow), normal (NK; 162 mmole/kg), and high (HK; 1350 mmole/kg) dietary potassium intake on Na-pump activity, the Na-pump activity response to changes in extracellular potassium concentration, and Na-pump site density were determined in tail arteries of rats. Plasma potassium concentration was elevated by 21% in HK rats and reduced by 45% in LK rats. When incubated in autologous plasma, compared to arteries from NK rats, Na-pump activity was decreased in the tail arteries from LK rats but not altered in those from HK rats. When arteries from NK and LK rats were incubated in autologous plasma with the potassium concentration increased to equal that of the HK rats, Na-pump activity exceeded that of HK rat arteries; Na-pump activity of arteries incubated in autologous plasma did not differ from that of arteries incubated in Krebs-Henseleit buffer with the potassium concentration adjusted to equal that of the plasma. Tail artery Na-pump activity for all three dietary potassium groups increased as potassium concentration of the incubation medium was increased from 1 to 12 mM; Na-pump activity was similar for the NK and LK rats at all potassium concentrations, but Na-pump activity of HK rat arteries was less than that of NK arteries at high extracellular potassium concentrations. Na-pump site density was not altered by either HK or LK diet. It is concluded that in tail arteries of rats fed the LK diet, chronically decreased extracellular potassium results in chronically decreased Na-pump activity. In contrast, an adaptive change occurs in tail arteries of rats fed HK diet, such that Na-pump activity remains at normal levels despite elevated extracellular potassium; this adaptive response to chronically increased dietary potassium does not appear to be the result of decreased Na-pump site density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-287
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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