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Chronic depression symptoms desensitize renin activity to protect against volume-loading hypertension in Blacks: The SABPA study

De Vos, Arnoldeen C., Malan, Leone, Seedat, Yackoob K., Cockeran, Marike, Malan, Nicolaas T.
Physiology & behavior 2018 v.194 pp. 474-480
Blacks, Human immunodeficiency virus, Whites, aldosterone, antihypertensive agents, blood sampling, diabetes, diastolic blood pressure, glomerular filtration rate, hypertension, mental depression, phenotype, prospective studies, renin, teachers
Low-renin levels in Blacks have been associated with volume-loading hypertension (HT). Depression symptoms, frequently co-occurring with vascular dysregulation, might reflect a disturbed renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system (RAAS). We aimed to assess prospective changes (∆) in depression symptoms, RAAS (renin, aldosterone), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in a bi-ethnic sex cohort.We included 195 Black and White teachers (43.7 ± 9 years) from a South African 3-year prospective study. Hypertension medication users, diabetics and human immunodeficiency virus infected individuals were excluded. Depression symptoms (Patient-Health-Questionnaire-9/PHQ-9), 24 h blood pressure measurements and fasting blood samples were obtained.Blacks had lower renin but higher DBP and eGFR levels at baseline (p ≤ .01) when compared to Whites. Blacks and Whites with depression (PHQ-9 ≥ 10) at baseline developed co-morbidity for having both depression plus DBP-HT at follow-up (Blacks, 49.1%; Whites, 13.1%). At 3-year follow-up, chronic depression symptoms were related to chronic lower renin in Blacks [Adjusted R2 0.20; β −0.37 (−0.66, −0.08), p = .02]. Chronic depression symptoms also predicted DBP hypertension in Blacks [ROC AUC = 0.61 (0.48–0.75); sensitivity/specificity 78.1/46.3%]. No prospective associations existed between depression symptoms, aldosterone and eGFR.Chronic depression symptoms in Blacks activated the RAAS system activity with apparent desensitization of renin activity. Chronic depression could be causal to hypertension and in turn, lowers renin activity as a protective mechanism against volume-loading. These findings emphasize the potential impact of depression on the low renin-hypertension phenotype in Blacks in terms of diagnosis and treatment.