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J Comp Neurol. 2002 Feb 18;443(4):321-31.

Paraventricular nucleus of the human hypothalamus in primary hypertension: activation of corticotropin-releasing hormone neurons.

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Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


By using quantitative immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization techniques, we studied corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) -producing neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) in patients who suffered from primary hypertension and died due to acute cardiac failure. The control group consisted of individuals who had normal blood pressure and died of acute heart failure due to mechanical trauma. Both magno- and parvocellular populations of CRH neurons appeared to be more numerous in the PVN of hypertensive patients. Quantitative analysis showed approximately a twofold increase in the total number of CRH neurons and a more than fivefold increase in the amount of CRH mRNA in the hypertensive PVN compared with the control. It is suggested that synthesis of CRH in hypertensive PVN is enhanced. Increased activity of CRH-producing neurons in the PVN of hypertensive patients is proposed not only to entail hyperactivity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, but also of the sympathetic nervous system and, thus, to be involved in the pathogenesis of hypertension.

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