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Primary Role of the Kidney in Pathogenesis of Hypertension.

Life 2024 January 15
Previous transplantation studies and the concept of 'nephron underdosing' support the idea that the kidney plays a crucial role in the development of essential hypertension. This suggests that there are genetic factors in the kidney that can either elevate or decrease blood pressure. The kidney normally maintains arterial pressure within a narrow range by employing the mechanism of pressure-natriuresis. Hypertension is induced when the pressure-natriuresis mechanism fails due to both subtle and overt kidney abnormalities. The inheritance of hypertension is believed to be polygenic, and essential hypertension may result from a combination of genetic variants that code for renal tubular sodium transporters or proteins involved in regulatory pathways. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) are the major regulators of renal sodium reabsorption. Hyperactivity of either the RAAS or SNS leads to a rightward shift in the pressure-natriuresis curve. In other words, hypertension is induced when the activity of RAAS and SNS is not suppressed despite increased salt intake. Sodium overload, caused by increased intake and/or reduced renal excretion, not only leads to an expansion of plasma volume but also to an increase in systemic vascular resistance. Endothelial dysfunction is caused by an increased intracellular Na+ concentration, which inhibits endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase and reduces NO production. The stiffness of vascular smooth muscle cells is increased by the accumulation of intracellular Na+ and subsequent elevation of cytoplasmic Ca++ concentration. In contrast to the hemodynamic effects of osmotically active Na+ , osmotically inactive Na+ stimulates immune cells and produces proinflammatory cytokines, which contribute to hypertension. When this occurs in the gut, the microbiota may become imbalanced, leading to intestinal inflammation and systemic hypertension. In conclusion, the primary cause of hypertension is sodium overload resulting from kidney dysregulation.

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