This review will highlight recent studies that have investigated the relationship between Na+, renal macrophage polarization, and renal damage. A hyperosmotic environment drives the macrophage toward a proinflammatory phenotype and away from an anti-inflammatory phenotype. Animal models of salt-sensitive hypertension demonstrate a characteristic infiltration of macrophages into the kidney that is greatly reduced when blood pressure is lowered. Because general immunosuppression or macrophage depletion leads to a host of adverse side effects, more recent studies have modulated the interaction of specific signaling molecules, including NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing 3, chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 16, and VEGF, to prevent the end-organ renal damage that accumulates in salt-sensitive disease.
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