The sympathetic nervous system and blood pressure in humans: implications for hypertension

J Hum Hypertens. 2012 Aug;26(8):463-75. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2011.66. Epub 2011 Jul 7.


A neurogenic component to primary hypertension (hypertension) is now well established. Along with raised vasomotor tone and increased cardiac output, the chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system in hypertension has a diverse range of pathophysiological consequences independent of any increase in blood pressure. This review provides a perspective on the actions and interactions of angiotensin II, inflammation and vascular dysfunction/brain hypoperfusion in the pathogenesis and progression of neurogenic hypertension. The optimisation of current treatment strategies and the exciting recent developments in the therapeutic targeting of the sympathetic nervous system to control hypertension (for example, catheter-based renal denervation and carotid baroreceptor stimulation) will be outlined.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure* / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / metabolism
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System
  • Sympathectomy
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / drug effects
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / metabolism
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology*


  • Antihypertensive Agents