Inflammation, immunity, and hypertension

Harrison, D. G., Guzik, T. J., Lob, H. E., Madhur, M. S., Marvar, P. J., Thabet, S. R., Vinh, A. and Weyand, C. M. (2011) Inflammation, immunity, and hypertension. Hypertension, 57(2), pp. 132-140. (doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.163576) (PMID:21149826) (PMCID:PMC3028593)

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Aprominent pathology textbook used in the United States includes an image illustrating the renal histopathology caused by malignant hypertension. The legend describes striking “onion skin” changes of a renal arteriole. 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. This lack of attention to inflammatory cells is, however, not surprising. Although many experimental studies have implicated inflammation in hypertension, these have largely been performed in experimental animals; there is no proof that inflammation contributes to human hypertension. In fact, some anti-inflammatory or immune-suppressing drugs (eg, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cyclosporine) paradoxically cause hypertension in humans, likely via off-target effects. Often the term “inflammation” is used in the context of cardiovascular disease as a catchall referring to nonspecific phenomena, such as elevation of C-reactive protein or the presence of macrophages in a tissue. Most clinicians and investigators find this vague and difficult to understand. Even more puzzling is that many studies now implicate the adaptive immune response, and in particular, lymphocytes, in hypertension and vascular disease. Traditionally, bacterial, viral, or tumor antigens activate this arm of immune defense. As such, it has been hard to imagine how adaptive immunity could be involved in a disease such as hypertension. In this article, we will attempt to address some of these puzzling questions. We will briefly review components of the innate and adaptive immune response, discuss data from many groups, including our own, that suggest that common forms of hypertension are immune mediated, and provide a working hypothesis of how signals from the central nervous system trigger an immune response that causes hypertension.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Guzik, Professor Tomasz
Authors: Harrison, D. G., Guzik, T. J., Lob, H. E., Madhur, M. S., Marvar, P. J., Thabet, S. R., Vinh, A., and Weyand, C. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences
Journal Name:Hypertension
Publisher:American Heart Association
ISSN (Online):1524-4563
Published Online:19 January 2011

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