Endogenous inhibition of red blood cell na, k-ATPase in essential and pregnancy-induced hypertension

R. Ringel, G. Pinkas, J. Hamlyn, L. Mullins, B. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Digoxin-like inhibitors of Na, K-ATPase have been implicated in the pathophysiology of essential(EH) and pregnancy-induced hypertension(PIH). A technique that enhances dissociation of digoxin from red blood cells(RBC) was used to displace endogenous digoxin-like substances from RBCs. RBC membranes were preincubated in Na and ATP(Release) or Na, K, Mg and ATP (Retention) prior to measuring ATPase activity. Groups studied were: 39 men with EH and 34 controls plus 10 women with PIH and 17 normotensive controls. All displayed similar increases in Na, K-ATPase activity (24.0±7.9% following Release. Plasma digoxin immunoreactivity(DI) was measured in pregnant women, m= 0.25±0.07 ng/ml. No DI was detected in nonpregnant women, but RBCs from these women demonstrated the same increase in Na, K-ATPase activity after Release. The 24% increase in activity achieved by Na and ATP preincubation can be reversed by adding K and Mg to the Release suspension. However, after RBC-bound digoxin is displaced by Release preincubation, addition of K and Mg cannot promote renewed binding and pump inhibition. Thus, the observed endogenous inhibition is not due to displacement of a digoxin-like substance but probably is related to alteration of the enzyme-membrane interaction. Furthermore, even though pregnant women demonstrate DI, an inhibitory susbstance with digoxin-like binding could not be recognized using theis technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-601
Number of pages15
JournalClinical and Experimental Hypertension
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Digoxin
  • Essential hypertension
  • K-adenosine triphosphatase
  • Na
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology


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