Objective: Hypertension is the most common cardiovascular disease and the main risk factor for stroke, peripheral arterial disease, arterial aneurysms and kidney disease. It has been reported recently that hypertensive patients and animals are characterized by decreased density of arterioles and capillaries in the tissues, called rarefaction. Rarefaction significantly increases peripheral resistance which results in elevated blood pressure, leads to vessel damage and induction of inflammation. Therefore, we hypothesized that hypertension is associated with decreased serum concentration of physiological pro-angiogenic factors and concomitant increased production of angiogenesis inhibitors.
Materials and methods: 82 patients diagnosed with hypertension and 34 healthy volunteers were recruited to the study. Flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) techniques were used to measure serum levels of the following cytokines: endostatin, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), interleukin 8 (IL-8), angiogenin, and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF).
Results: Hypertensive patients were characterized by increased serum concentration of endostatin which is an anti-angiogenic factor. In addition, hypertension was associated with decreased levels of physiological pro-angiogenic mediators such as: angiogenin and bFGF. The hypertensive group was also characterized by elevated levels of CRP, VEGF and IL-8 that are the hallmarks of inflammation.
Conclusions: Presented results show that hypertension is characterized by imbalance of pro-angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors in the background of inflammation.