Under pressure: the search for the essential mechanisms of hypertension

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a very common disorder with a substantial impact on public health because of its associated complications. Despite the high prevalence of essential hypertension and years of research, the basic causes remain obscure. Here I review recent advances in understanding the pathophysiology of hypertension. I present a general overview of the field and, by necessity, use broad strokes to portray recent progress and place it in context. For this purpose, I use illustrative examples from the large number of important developments in hypertension research over the last five years. The intent of this review is to provide a sense of where the field is progressing, with an emphasis on work that sheds light on pathogenic mechanisms and that is therefore likely to inform new translational advances.

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Figure 1: The proposed three-compartment model for the disposition of sodium.
Figure 2: Key vascular signaling pathways in hypertension.
Figure 3: Regulatory mechanisms for blood pressure are targets for therapy in hypertension.


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The author's work in this area has been supported by the US National Institutes of Health (HL056122), the Veteran's Affairs Research Administration and the Edna and Fred L. Mandel Jr. Foundation.

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Correspondence to Thomas M Coffman.

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