Inflammation: A Mediator Between Hypertension and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Am J Hypertens. 2021 Oct 27;34(10):1014-1030. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpab094.


Hypertension is the most prevalent and modifiable risk factor for stroke, vascular cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's disease. However, the mechanistic link between hypertension and neurodegenerative diseases remains to be understood. Recent evidence indicates that inflammation is a common pathophysiological trait for both hypertension and neurodegenerative diseases. Low-grade chronic inflammation at the systemic and central nervous system levels is now recognized to contribute to the physiopathology of hypertension. This review speculates that inflammation represents a mediator between hypertension and neurodegenerative diseases, either by a decrease in cerebral blood flow or a disruption of the blood-brain barrier which will, in turn, let inflammatory cells and neurotoxic molecules enter the brain parenchyma. This may impact brain functions including cognition and contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. This review will thus discuss the relationship between hypertension, systemic inflammation, cerebrovascular functions, neuroinflammation, and brain dysfunctions. The potential clinical future of immunotherapies against hypertension and associated cerebrovascular risks will also be presented.

Keywords: blood pressure; blood–brain barrier; cerebral blood flow; cerebral blood vessels; hypertension; inflammation; neurovasuclar coupling; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Hypertension* / physiopathology
  • Inflammation* / physiopathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / physiopathology

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