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Curr Hypertens Rep. 2015 May;17(5):39. doi: 10.1007/s11906-015-0550-4.

Hypothalamic signaling mechanisms in hypertension.

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Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and The Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 East Concord St, Boston, MA, 02118, USA,


The etiology of hypertension, a critical public health issue affecting one in three US adults, involves the integration of the actions of multiple organ systems, including the central nervous system. Increased activation of the central nervous system, driving enhanced sympathetic outflow and increased blood pressure, has emerged as a major contributor to the pathogenesis of hypertension. The hypothalamus is a key brain site acting to integrate central and peripheral inputs to ultimately impact blood pressure in multiple disease states that evoke hypertension. This review highlights recent advances that have identified novel signal transduction mechanisms within multiple hypothalamic nuclei (e.g., paraventricular nucleus, arcuate nucleus) acting to drive the pathophysiology of hypertension in neurogenic hypertension, angiotensin II hypertension, salt-sensitive hypertension, chronic intermittent hypoxia, and obesity-induced hypertension. Increased understanding of hypothalamic activity in hypertension has the potential to identify novel targets for future therapeutic interventions designed to treat hypertension.

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