Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Noreen F. Rossi


Dietary consumption of fructose facilitates increased intestinal fluid absorption and renal sodium reabsorption, thereby increasing fluid retention. The net result of this is a sustained increased in extracellular fluid volume that leads to states of hypervolemia and subsequent hypertension. Simultaneously, arterial pressure is being elevated by increased autonomic drive stemming from the sympathetic nervous system and various other endovascular proteins that induce vasoconstriction. Under these conditions, the addition of high dietary sodium promotes hypertension prior to the development of significant metabolic disturbances; the subtlety of which may go unnoticed by patients for prolonged periods. While much is understood regarding the multifactorial pathologies of this model of hypertension, few studies have investigated the chronic effects of this disease and the end-organ damage that may result. The highest consumers of fructose are adolescents and young adults, and despite this demographic factor a disparity in the amount of research investigating the chronic effects of such a diet on developing physiologic systems exists. Using techniques such ultrasonography, telemetry, and metabolic caging systems, we sought to determine the acute and chronic effects of fructose and high salt feeding in both adult and adolescent rats. The results of these studies confirmed conclusions from prior studies in that fructose induces a state of salt-sensitivity. Over time this prolonged period of hypertension eventually leads to diastolic dysfunction and left ventricular hypertrophy. The novel-most finding of this study, however, was the discovery that fructose feeding at a young age induces salt-sensitive states governed by renal mechanisms and that this sensitivity is retained into adulthood even following the restoration of a healthy diet. Taken together, these results indicate the inherent risks associated with moderate fructose consumption and highlight the importance healthy dietary habits in promoting cardiovascular and renal health throughout life.

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