In a genetically hypertension-prone (S) strain of rats it was observed previously that males generally developed hypertension more rapidly on a high salt diet than did females although final pressure ultimately were similar in both sexes. A genetic study had shown that there was no sex-linkage involved in setting blood pressure levels, so it was thought that the gonads might be involved. In the present work, castration of males had no effect on blood pressure but in the females it caused a rise in pressure that could not be distinguished from that in males, both on a high and low salt diet. Castration resulted in greater growth in females than in controls, whereas it had the opposite effect in males. It was speculated that these changes were due to influences on pituitary growth hormone with castration increasing the net output of growth hormone (or enhancing receptor sensitivity to it) in the female and the opposite in the male. From the work of others, there are some data compatible with such an interpretation. Experimentally, growth hormone will induce hypertension in rats. Therefore, it is conceivable that growth hormone is involved in the increment in hypertension observed in these castrate females. Because the effect on blood pressure was observed in castrate females on both high and low NaCl diets, it was considered unlikely that the blood pressure effect was simply due to increased NaCl intake in the food associated with greater growth. It was suggested that this rise in blood pressure with cessation of ovarian function might bear on the unsettled question of "menopausal" hypertension in women: in the genetically susceptible individual an increase in growth hormone associated with declining ovarian funtion in the menopause could provide the stimulus for the appearance of hypertension some years earlier than would otherwise have been the case.

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