American journal of kidney diseases : the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation

Heart failure, aging, and renal synthesis of dopamine.

PMID 11532681


The present study evaluates renal dopaminergic activity in 23 patients with heart failure (HF), 10 age-matched controls, and 10 young subjects during normal-salt (NS) intake and after 8 days of low-salt (LS) intake (patients with HF and age-matched controls only). LS intake produced a marked reduction in urine volume in patients with HF but failed to affect urine volume in age-matched controls. Urinary sodium and fractional excretion of sodium were markedly reduced by LS intake in patients with HF and age-matched controls. Daily urinary excretion of L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-dopa) and dopamine was lower in patients with HF than in age-matched controls. LS intake failed to alter L-dopa and dopamine urinary excretion in control subjects. In patients with HF, LS intake produced a significant decrease in urinary L-dopa excretion, but failed to alter the urinary excretion of dopamine. No significant differences were observed in urinary L-dopa, dopamine, and dopamine metabolite levels between aged controls and young healthy subjects. Urinary dopamine-L-dopa ratios in patients with HF on LS intake (24.5 +/- 7.1) were significantly greater than those with NS intake (11.6 +/- 1.3). Urinary dopamine-L-dopa ratios in old control subjects (LS, 9.7 +/- 1.3; NS, 9.3 +/- 1.1) did not differ from those in young healthy subjects (9.2 +/- 0.8). LS intake produced a marked increase in plasma aldosterone levels in both patients with HF (84.6 +/- 14.4 to 148.2 +/- 20.4 pg/mL; P = 0.0008) and controls (102.1 +/- 13.4 to 151.6 +/- 15.7 pg/mL; P < 0.04). Plasma norepinephrine levels were not significantly affected by LS intake in controls (5.1 +/- 1.62 to 6.3 +/- 1.6 pmol/mL; P = 0.22), but were significantly increased in patients with HF (5.8 +/- 0.8 to 7.1 +/- 0.9 pmol/mL; P = 0.04). In conclusion, patients with HF are endowed with an enhanced ability to take up (or decarboxylate) filtered L-dopa, which might counterbalance the reduced renal delivery of L-dopa, contributing to a relative preservation of dopamine synthesis. This may result as a compensatory mechanism, activated by stimuli leading to sodium reabsorption. Age seems to have no influence on renal dopamine production.