Carotid chemoreceptor reflexes following dietary salt loading in rats

Document Type



Biomedical Sciences (East Africa)


There is a strong association between salt intake and hypertension. Alterations in baroreceptor activity, which precede and contribute to the elevation in blood pressure, have also been shown to affect chemoreceptor reflex response. Dietary salt loading with 8% sodium chloride was carried out in Sprague Dawley rats aged 8 weeks for a period of 5-6 weeks. Blood pressure was thereafter recorded under anaesthesia from the common carotid artery with a Grass Polygraph 7D model, whereas serum Na[Formula: See Text] and K[Formula: See Text] concentrations were measured using a flame photometer. Salt loading resulted in elevated arterial blood pressure as well as hypokalaemia. Stimulation of the carotid chemoreceptor by injection of sodium dithionite resulted in elevated arterial blood pressure, decreased heart rate and hyperventilation in both control and salt-loaded rats. However, the bradycardic response as estimated by the difference in percentage reduction in heart rate was significantly higher in salt rats (36%) than in the control rats (10%). The results indicate that a high-salt diet results in enhanced bradycardic response to carotid chemoreceptor stimulation and that this observation may be related to the attendant hypokalaemia.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Blood pressure