The sympathetic nervous system in hypertension: a potential long-term regulator of arterial pressure

Author(s): Mark AL


INCREASED SYMPATHETIC NERVE ACTIVITY IN HYPERTENSION: Two techniques (the microneurographic method for intraneural recordings of sympathetic nerve activity and radiotracer techniques for study of norepinephrine kinetics) have been used recently to obtain sophisticated insight into regional sympathetic function in humans. Persuasive evidence now indicates that young mildly hypertensive humans have increased sympathetic neural activity. LONG-TERM REGULATION OF ARTERIAL PRESSURE: Three credible mechanisms have been proposed to sustain long-term sympathetic nervous influences in hypertension: antinatriuretic and renin stimulating effects of the renal sympathetic nerves, sympathetic influences on the development of vascular membrane properties and trophic effects of the sympathetic nerves on vascular and cardiac muscle.

Conclusion:There is increasing evidence that the sympathetic nervous system may play a primary role in the pathogenesis of essential hypertension and the long-term regulation of arterial pressure.

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