Impact of Nutritional Epigenetics in Essential Hypertension: Targeting microRNAs in the Gut-Liver Axis

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2021 May 7;23(5):28. doi: 10.1007/s11906-021-01142-9.


Purpose of review: To review the current knowledge on interactions between dietary factors and microRNAs (miRNAs) in essential hypertension (EH) pathogenesis.

Recent findings: There exists an integration of maintenance signals generated by genetic, epigenetic, immune, and environmental (e.g., dietary) factors that work to sustain balance in the gut-liver axis. It is well established that an imbalance in this complex, intertwined system substantially increases the risk for EH. As such, pertinent research has been taken to decipher how each signal operates in isolation and together in EH progression. Recent literature indicates that both macro- and micronutrients interrupt regulatory miRNA expressions and thus, alter multiple cellular processes that contribute to EH and its comorbidities. We highlight how carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, salt, and potassium modify miRNA signatures during EH. The disruption in miRNA expression can negatively impact communication systems such as over activating the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, modulating the vascular smooth muscle cell phenotype, and promoting angiogenesis to favor EH. We also delineate the prognostic value of miRNAs in EH and discuss the pros and cons of surgical vs dietary prophylactic approaches in EH prevention. We propose that dietary-dependent perturbation of the miRNA profile is one mechanism within the gut-liver axis that dictates EH development.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Gut microbiome; Hyperlipidemia; Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system; Vasculature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Essential Hypertension
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / genetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Renin-Angiotensin System


  • MicroRNAs