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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016;38(5):1681-94. doi: 10.1159/000443107. Epub 2016 May 3.

The Gastrointestinal Tract: an Initial Organ of Metabolic Hypertension?


Hypertension is an important global public-health challenge because of its high prevalence and concomitant risks for cardiovascular and kidney diseases. More than 60% of the risk factors for hypertension are associated with metabolic disorders. Furthermore, many metabolic risk factors can directly cause the vascular dysfunction and the elevated blood pressure. Metabolic disorders not only increase the risk for hypertension but also participate in the development of hypertension. Thus, some types of hypertension induced by metabolic disturbances can be defined as metabolic hypertension. However, the pathogenesis of metabolic hypertension remains largely unknown. The gastrointestinal tract is a unique gate through which external food, metabolites, and microbes enter the human body. Thus, metabolism-related risk factors may affect blood pressure through the gastrointestinal tract and alter processes such as taste perception, mucosal absorption, gut hormone homeostasis, GI nerve activity, and gut microbiota. Meanwhile, gastrointestinal intervention through dietary approaches, gut microbiota modification, and metabolic surgery could profoundly improve or remit the vascular dysfunction and metabolic hypertension. It suggests that the GI tract could be an initial organ of metabolic hypertension. However, more clinical and basic studies are necessary to further validate this novel concept.

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