The kidneys are one of the main end organs targeted by hypertensive disease. Although the central role of the kidneys in the regulation of high blood pressure has been long recognized, the detailed mechanisms behind the pathophysiology of renal damage in hypertension remain a matter of investigation. Early renal biochemical alterations due to salt-induced hypertension in Dahl/salt-sensitive rats were monitored by Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) micro-imaging. Furthermore, FTIR was used to investigate the effects of proANP31–67, a linear fragment of proatrial natriuretic peptide, on the renal tissue of hypertensive rats. Different hypertension-induced alterations were detected in the renal parenchyma and blood vessels by the combination of FTIR imaging and principal component analysis on specific spectral regions. Changes in amino acids and protein contents observed in renal blood vessels were independent of altered lipid, carbohydrate, and glycoprotein contents in the renal parenchyma. FTIR micro-imaging was found to be a reliable tool for monitoring the remarkable heterogeneity of kidney tissue and its hypertension-induced alterations. In addition, FTIR detected a significant reduction in these hypertension-induced alterations in the kidneys of proANP31–67-treated rats, further indicating the high sensitivity of this cutting-edge imaging modality and the beneficial effects of this novel medication on the kidneys.
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