Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is commonly utilized as a therapeutic to treat metabolic acidosis in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). While increased dietary sodium chloride (NaCl) is known to promote volume retention and increase blood pressure, the effects of NaHCO3 loading on blood pressure and volume retention in CKD remain unclear. In the present study, we compared the effects of NaCl and NaHCO3 loading on volume retention, blood pressure, and kidney injury in both 2/3 and 5/6 nephrectomy remnant kidney rats, a well-established rodent model of CKD. We tested the hypothesis that NaCl loading promotes greater volume retention and increases in blood pressure than equimolar NaHCO3. Blood pressure was measured 24 h daily using radio telemetry. NaCl and NaHCO3 were administered in drinking water ad libitum or infused via indwelling catheters. Rats were housed in metabolic cages to determine volume retention. Our data indicate that both NaHCO3 and NaCl promote hypertension and volume retention in remnant kidney rats, with salt-sensitivity increasing with greater renal mass reduction. Importantly, while NaHCO3 intake was less pro-hypertensive than equimolar NaCl intake, NaHCO3 was not benign. NaHCO3 loading significantly elevated blood pressure and promoted volume retention in rats with CKD when compared with control rats receiving tap water. Our findings provide important insight into the effects of sodium loading with NaHCO3 in CKD and indicate that NaHCO3 loading in patients with CKD is unlikely to be benign.

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