Purpose of review: We will focus on the recent findings concerning the inflammatory response in vascular and renal tissues caused by hypertension.
Recent findings: Angiotensin II is one of the main factors involved in hypertension-induced tissue damage. This peptide regulates the inflammatory process. Angiotensin II activates circulating cells, and participates in their adhesion to the activated endothelium and subsequent transmigration through the synthesis of adhesion molecules, chemokines and cytokines. Among the intracellular signals involved in angiotensin II-induced inflammation, the production of reactive oxygen species and the activation of nuclear factor-kappaB are the best known.
Summary: The pharmacological blockade of angiotensin II actions, by angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor antagonists, results in beneficial organ protective effects, in addition to the effects of these agents on blood pressure control, that can be explained by the blockade of the angiotensin II-induced pro-inflammatory response. These data provide a rationale for the use of blockers of the renin-angiotensin system to prevent vascular and renal inflammation in patients with hypertension.