Inverse Salt Sensitivity of Blood Pressure: Mechanisms and Potential Relevance for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Current hypertension reports




Angiotensin; Angiotensin receptor; Dopamine; Dopamine receptor; Inverse salt sensitivity; Renin; Salt sensitivity


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the etiology of inverse salt sensitivity of blood pressure (BP). RECENT FINDINGS: Both high and low sodium (Na) intake can be associated with increased BP and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, little is known regarding the mechanisms involved in the increase in BP in response to low Na intake, a condition termed inverse salt sensitivity of BP, which affects approximately 15% of the adult population. The renal proximal tubule is important in regulating up to 70% of renal Na transport. The renin-angiotensin and renal dopaminergic systems play both synergistic and opposing roles in the regulation of Na transport in this nephron segment. Clinical studies have demonstrated that individuals express a "personal salt index" (PSI) that marks whether they are salt-resistant, salt-sensitive, or inverse salt-sensitive. Inverse salt sensitivity results in part from genetic polymorphisms in various Na regulatory genes leading to a decrease in natriuretic activity and an increase in renal tubular Na reabsorption leading to an increase in BP. This article reviews the potential mechanisms of a new pathophysiologic entity, inverse salt sensitivity of BP, which affects approximately 15% of the general adult population.