Objectives: Urotensin II is the most potent vasoconstrictor known. Its role in hypertension has not been investigated. Here, we studied the plasma levels in hypertensive and normotensive human subjects.
Design: A cross-sectional case-control study.
Setting: Hypertension clinic and research clinic of a university teaching hospital.
Participants: Sixty-two hypertensive outpatient subjects (52% male, aged 57 +/- 13 years) and 62 normotensive controls (45% male, aged 54 +/- 13 years) recruited from the general population.
Main outcome measures: Plasma urotensin II levels measured by radioimmunoassay, systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Results: Plasma urotensin II was 8.8 +/- 0.9 pmol/l in normotensive controls and 13.6 +/- 1.4 pmol/l in hypertensive subjects (P = 0.005). In multiple regression analysis, systolic blood pressure was related to plasma urotensin II (beta = 0.31, P < 0.001) and age (beta = 0.28, P = 0.001), accounting for 10 and 8%, respectively, of the variance in systolic blood pressure. There was no significant correlation with gender, renal function or diabetes.
Conclusions: Plasma urotensin II was raised in hypertensive patients compared to normotensive controls, and was directly related to systolic blood pressure. Our findings raise the possibility that urotensin II may have an aetiological role in hypertension and its complications.