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Recent biological advances make it possible to discover new peptides associated with hypertension. The cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is a known factor in appetite and feeding behaviour. Various lines of evidence suggest that this peptide participates not only in control of feeding behaviour but also in the regulation of the cardiovascular and sympathetic systems and blood pressure. The role of CART in blood pressure regulation led us to undertake a study aimed at analysing quantitative changes in CART-containing cells in urinary bladders (UB) of rats with renovascular hypertension. We used the Goldblatt model of arterial hypertension (two-kidney, one clip) to evaluate quantitative changes. This model provides researchers with a commonly used tool to analyse the renin-angiotensin system of blood pressure control and, eventually, to develop drugs for the treatment of chronic hypertension. The study was performed on sections of urinary bladders of rats after 3-, 14-, 28-, 42 and 91 days from hypertension induction. Immunohistochemical identification of CART cells was performed on paraffin for the UBs of all the study animals. CART was detected in the endocrine cells, especially numerous in the submucosa and muscularis layers, with a few found in the transitional epithelium and only occasionally in serosa. Hypertension significantly increased the number of CART-positive cells in the rat UBs. After 3 and 42 days following the procedure, statistically significantly higher numbers of CART-positive cells were identified in comparison with the control animals. The differences between the hypertensive rats and the control animals concerned not only the number density of CART-immunoreactive cells but also their localization. After a 6-week period, each of the rats subjected to the renal artery clipping procedure developed stable hypertension. CART appeared in numerous transitional epithelium cells. As this study provides novel findings, the question appears about the type of connection between hypertension and the functioning and activity of CART in the urinary tract (UT). The study gives rise to the assumption that high blood pressure can be a factor that intensifies CART secretion. In conclusion, the endocrine system of the urinary tract is modified by renovascular hypertension. This may affect the production of hormones and biologically active substances and contribute to the development of possible hypertension complications. In order to fully comprehend the role of the CART peptide in blood pressure regulation, further analyses are necessary.
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