Immune mechanisms of hypertension Academic Article uri icon


  • Hypertension affects 30% of adults and is the leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Traditionally, hypertension has been regarded as a disorder of two systems that are involved in the regulation of salt-water balance and cardiovascular function: the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). However, current treatments that aim to limit the influence of the RAAS or SNS on blood pressure fail in ~40% of cases, which suggests that other mechanisms must be involved. This Review summarizes the clinical and experimental evidence supporting a contribution of immune mechanisms to the development of hypertension. In this context, we highlight the immune cell subsets that are postulated to either promote or protect against hypertension through modulation of cardiac output and/or peripheral vascular resistance. We conclude with an appraisal of knowledge gaps still to be addressed before immunomodulatory therapies might be applied to at least a subset of patients with hypertension.

publication date

  • 2019