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Hypertension. 2005 Dec;46(6):1236-42. Epub 2005 Nov 14.

The prothrombotic paradox of hypertension: role of the renin-angiotensin and kallikrein-kinin systems.

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Department of Medicine, University Hospital Maastricht, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Despite increased pulsatile stress, thrombotic rather than hemorrhagic events represent a major complication of hypertension. The pathophysiology of thrombosis in hypertension involves the interaction among vascular endothelium and particularly the renin-angiotensin and kallikrein-kinin systems. Because hypertension is often associated with some degree of inflammation, the combination of chronic inflammation and chronic shear stress may convert the normal anticoagulant endothelium into a procoagulant surface, expressing tissue factor. Activation of the renin-angiotensin system leads to activation of nuclear factor kappaB-dependent proinflammatory genes, also accelerating the expression of tissue factor. Renin-angiotensin and kallikrein-kinin systems interact at several levels to modulate coagulation, fibrinolysis, and vasodilatation in such a way that these 2 systems could have a major influence on the occurrence of thrombotic complications. Treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonists may favorably influence the balance between the renin-angiotensin and kallikrein-kinin axis, regulating blood pressure as well as reducing the risk of thrombosis, which may explain part of the clinical efficacy of these drugs.

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