The possible influence of a family history of hypertension on some variables of adrenergic blood pressure regulation was assessed. Blood pressure, heart rate, plasma renin activity, adrenaline and noradrenaline concentrations, and plasma or urinary electrolyte estimations did not differ significantly between two groups of normotensive subjects matched for age and sex with and without a family history of hypertension. Compared with subjects without a family history, however, an appreciably decreased pressor dose of infused noradrenaline, a distinct shift to the left in the relation between noradrenaline induced changes in mean arterial pressure and concomitant plasma noradrenaline concentrations, and an enhanced pressor response to given increases in plasma noradrenaline concentrations occurred in the group with a family history. These findings suggest that an imbalance between cardiovascular noradrenaline responsiveness and circulating noradrenaline is a common familial disturbance which could possibly predispose to the development of essential hypertension.
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