PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Hypertension has been demonstrated to be a chief contributor to morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Although the cause of hypertension is multifactorial, emerging evidence, obtained in experimental studies, as well as observational studies in humans, points to the role of inflammation and immunity. Many aspects of immune function have now been implicated in hypertension and end-organ injury; this review will focus upon the recently-described role of Th17 cells in this pathophysiological response. RECENT FINDINGS: Studies in animal models and human genetic studies point to a role in the adaptive immune system as playing a contributory role in hypertension and renal tissue damage. Th17 cells, which produce the cytokine IL17, are strongly pro-inflammatory cells, which may contribute to tissue damage if expressed in chronic disease conditions. The activity of these cells may be enhanced by physiological factors associated with hypertension such as dietary salt or Ang II. This activity may culminate in the increased sodium retaining activity and exacerbation of inflammation and renal fibrosis via multiple cellular mechanisms. SUMMARY: Th17 cells are a distinct component of the adaptive immune system that may strongly enhance pathways leading to increased sodium reabsorption, elevated vascular tone and end-organ damage. Moreover, this pathway may lend itself towards specific targeting for treatment of kidney disease and hypertension.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine