Inflammation Causing Hypertension: A New Concept Reviewed

In a recent review article David Harrison and colleagues from the Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, summarize recent animal and human studies suggesting that inflammation and adaptive immunity responses are implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertension.

As stated by the authors, quote: “A prominent pathology textbook used in the United States includes an image illustrating the renal histopathology caused by malignant hypertension. Curiously, a sea of mononuclear inflammatory cells surrounding this arteriole is overlooked both in the legend and in the related text. Moreover, nothing regarding inflammation or immune reactions is discussed”.

In the review that was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, Harrison et al. provide a brief but comprehensive overview of the major immune and inflammatory mechanisms contributing to the development of hypertension, and a working hypothesis of how signals from the central nervous system may trigger an immune response that causes hypertension.

The authors also highlight the importance of the clinical condition referred to as “prehypertension,” which may represent a condition in which inflammation initiates a more severe hypertensive state.

The studies and concepts described in this review may provide new insights into the pathogenesis of hypertension, and suggest that immunotherapy might be useful to treat severe forms of either resistant or malignant hypertension.

SOURCE:  Hypertension 2011, 57:132. Epub 2010 Dec 13

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