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Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2014 Feb;210(2):307-16. doi: 10.1111/apha.12206. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Sex differences in the developmental programming of hypertension.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA; Women's Health Research Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA.

Abstract

Experimental models of developmental programming provide proof of concept and support Barker's original findings that link birthweight and blood pressure. Many experimental models of developmental insult demonstrate a sex difference with male offspring exhibiting a higher blood pressure in young adulthood relative to their age-matched female counterparts. It is well recognized that men exhibit a higher blood pressure relative to age-matched women prior to menopause. Yet, whether this sex difference is noted in individuals born with low birthweight is not clear. Sex differences in the developmental programming of blood pressure may originate from innate sex-specific differences in expression of the renin angiotensin system that occur in response to adverse influences during early life. Sex differences in the developmental programming of blood pressure may also involve the influence of the hormonal milieu on regulatory systems key to the long-term control of blood pressure such as the renin angiotensin system in adulthood. In addition, the sex difference in blood pressure in offspring exposed to a developmental insult may involve innate sex differences in oxidative status or the endothelin system or may be influenced by age-dependent changes in the developmental programming of cardiovascular risk factors such as adiposity. Therefore, this review will highlight findings from different experimental models to provide the current state of knowledge related to the mechanisms that contribute to the aetiology of sex differences in the developmental programming of blood pressure and hypertension.

KEYWORDS:

blood pressure; endothelin; oxidative stress; renal nerves; renin angiotensin system; sex hormones

PMID:
24268043
PMCID:
PMC4032374
DOI:
10.1111/apha.12206
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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