AbstractSpontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) respond to angiotensin and norepinephrine with an exaggerated pressor response. We have investigated the possibility that increased vascular reactivity in SHR may be related to a reduced synthesis of prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) resulting from a defect in the release of its precursor, dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid (DGLA). Isolated perfused mesenteric vascular beds of SHR and age matched Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY) were perfused with Kreb's bicarbonate buffer. The effluent was collected and the fatty acid composition determined by gas chromatography. In SHR the release of DGLA, arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and virtually all other fatty acids detected in the effluent were reduced when compared to their normotensive controls. This difference could not be explained by low tissue fatty acid levels because these were higher in SHR. Evening primrose oil (EPO) when added to the diet increased the release of DGLA but not of other prostanoid precursors. EPO also reduced vascular reactivity and reduced blood pressure in SHR. It is suggested that the defect in the release of DGLA may be involved in the pathogenesis of hypertension because it occurs early before hypertension has actually occurred.
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