What role do T lymphocytes and T-cell–derived cytokines play in hypertension (high blood pressure)?

Updated: Feb 22, 2019
  • Author: Matthew R Alexander, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Answer

Evidence suggests that T lymphocytes and T-cell derived cytokines (eg, interleukin 17, tumor necrosis factor alpha) play an important role in hypertension. [16, 17]

One hypothesis is that prehypertension results in oxidation of lipids such as arachidonic acid that leads to the formation of isoketals or isolevuglandins, which function as neoantigens, which are then presented to T cells, leading to T-cell activation and infiltration of critical organs (eg, kidney, vasculature). [18]  This results in persistent or severe hypertension and end organ damage. Sympathetic nervous system activation and noradrenergic stimuli have also been shown to promote T-lymphocyte activation and infiltration and contribute to the pathophysiology of hypertension. [19, 20, 21]


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