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Exp Physiol. 2016 Mar;101(3):368-74. doi: 10.1113/EP085149. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Is immune system-related hypertension associated with ovarian hormone deficiency?

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Department of Medicine and Center for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging and Disease, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.
Department of Psychology and Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Women's Health University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Physiology, Sarver Heart Center, Evelyn McKnight Brain Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.


What is the topic of this review? This review summarizes recent data on the role of ovarian hormones and sex in inflammation-related hypertension. What advances does it highlight? The adaptive immune system has recently been implicated in the development of hypertension in males but not in females. The role of the immune system in the development of hypertension in women and its relationship to ovarian hormone production are highlighted. The immune system is known to contribute to the development of high blood pressure in males. However, the role of the immune system in the development of high blood pressure in females and the role of ovarian hormones has only recently begun to be studied. In animal studies, both the sex of the host and the T cell are critical biological determinants of susceptibility and resistance to hypertension induced by angiotensin II. In women, natural menopause is known to result in significant changes in the expression of genes regulating the immune system. Likewise, in animal models, ovariectomy results in hypertension and an upregulation in T-cell tumour necrosis factor-α-related genes. Oestrogen replacement results in decreases in inflammatory genes in the brain regions involved in blood pressure regulation. Together, these studies suggest that the response of the adaptive immune system to ovarian hormone deficiency is a significant contributor to hypertension in women.

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