Oxidative stress and hypertension

Med Clin North Am. 2009 May;93(3):621-35. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2009.02.015.


This review has summarized some of the data supporting a role of ROS and oxidant stress in the genesis of hypertension. There is evidence that hypertensive stimuli, such as high salt and angiotensin II, promote the production of ROS in the brain, the kidney, and the vasculature and that each of these sites contributes either to hypertension or to the untoward sequelae of this disease. Although the NADPH oxidase in these various organs is a predominant source, other enzymes likely contribute to ROS production and signaling in these tissues. A major clinical challenge is that the routinely used antioxidants are ineffective in preventing or treating cardiovascular disease and hypertension. This is likely because these drugs are either ineffective or act in a non-targeted fashion, such that they remove not only injurious ROS Fig. 5. Proposed role of T cells in the genesis of hypertension and the role of the NADPH oxidase in multiple cells/organs in modulating this effect. In this scenario, angiotensin II stimulates an NADPH oxidase in the CVOs of the brain, increasing sympathetic outflow. Sympathetic nerve terminals in lymph nodes activate T cells, and angiotensin II also directly activates T cells. These stimuli also activate expression of homing signals in the vessel and likely the kidney, which attract T cells to these organs. T cells release cytokines that stimulate the vessel and kidney NADPH oxidases, promoting vasoconstriction and sodium retention. SFO, subfornical organ. 630 Harrison & Gongora but also those involved in normal cell signaling. A potentially important and relatively new direction is the concept that inflammatory cells such as T cells contribute to hypertension. Future studies are needed to understand the interaction of T cells with the CNS, the kidney, and the vasculature and how this might be interrupted to provide therapeutic benefit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / metabolism
  • Blood Vessels / physiopathology
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Angiotensin II
  • NADPH Oxidases