OBJECTIVE - Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α agonists reduce blood pressure in rodents, but clinical trials provide conflicting data regarding their effects in humans. We tested the hypothesis that the effect of fenofibrate on blood pressure depends on salt sensitivity.
METHODS - Thirty-one hypertensive volunteers (17 salt-resistant, 14 salt-sensitive) completed a randomized, crossover, double-blind protocol with three dietary phases: low salt diet (10 mmol/day) followed by two consecutive high salt diets (200 mmol/day), each for 6 days. During high salt, volunteers were randomized to fenofibrate 160 mg/day or placebo. Hemodynamic and metabolic parameters were measured on the last morning of each treatment arm.
RESULTS - Fenofibrate reduced triglycerides similarly in salt-sensitive and salt-resistant volunteers. Fenofibrate did not affect blood pressure in salt-resistant volunteers. In salt-sensitive volunteers, fenofibrate significantly decreased diastolic (P = 0.02 versus placebo) and mean arterial (P = 0.04 versus placebo) blood pressure during high salt. In all volunteers, the decrease in systolic pressure during fenofibrate correlated inversely with the salt sensitivity of mean arterial pressure as a continuous variable. Fenofibrate significantly decreased heart rate, plasma renin activity, and renal vascular resistance during high salt in salt-sensitive volunteers, but not salt-resistant volunteers. Fenofibrate did not affect sodium excretion or weight gain during high salt. The effect of salt intake and fenofibrate on plasma and urine epoxyeicosatrienoic acid concentrations differed in salt-resistant and salt-sensitive volunteers.
CONCLUSION - Fenofibrate reduces blood pressure, heart rate and renal vasoconstriction in salt-sensitive volunteers, but not in salt-resistant volunteers. These findings have implications for the treatment of hyperlipidemia in hypertensive individuals.