The nitric oxide system in glucocorticoid-induced hypertension

J Hypertens. 2002 Jun;20(6):1035-43. doi: 10.1097/00004872-200206000-00003.


The blood pressure-raising effects of adrenocortical steroids with predominantly glucocorticoid activity, both naturally occurring and synthetic, are well known. Recent evidence suggests that the nitric oxide system plays a key role in the hypertension produced by glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoid actions at various sites in the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) pathway may result in elevated blood pressure. These include: alterations in l-arginine availability or transport; NOS2 and NOS3 downregulation; reduced cofactor bioavailability; NOS uncoupling; a concomitant elevation in reactive oxygen species and removal of nitric oxide (NO) from the vascular environment; alterations in whole body antioxidant status; and erythropoietin induced resistance to NO.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced*
  • Hypertension / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Nitric Oxide