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Special Issue "Molecular Research on Hypertension"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Anastasia Susie Mihailidou
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Guest Editor
Department of Cardiology, Northern Sydney Local Health District and Kolling Institute, Sydney, Australia
Interests: hypertension management; blood pressure measurement and variability; cardiac molecular and cellular signalling pathways activated by aldosterone and cortisol; molecular mechanisms and translation research into diabetes; gender differences in ischemic heart disease; blood pressure variability during obstructive sleep apnoea and bereavement
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Hypertension is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular, neurological and renal disease and has been labelled the “silent killer” by the World Health Organisation, accounting for 51% of stroke deaths and 45% of ischemic heart disease related deaths. Released recently in the Lancet, is the systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Globally, age-standardised years lived with disability (YLD) rates significantly increased for hypertensive heart disease by more than 5%, from 1990–2013. With the increasing incidences of obesity and diabetes, this is predicted to increase further. There have been significant advances in research in defining the role of molecular, genetic and environmental factors contributing to hypertension. With increasing aged populations globally, further research is required to identify additional subcellular targets for treatment. This Special Issue will center on reviews and primary data manuscripts that focus on defining (1) gender differences in molecular signal transduction pathways activated in blood pressure regulation and hypertension; (2) genetic studies to identify new pathways and targets for treatment of hypertension; (3) molecular pathways activated during obesity-induced hypertension; (4) recent advances in RAAS signalling dysfunction in hypertension; (5) redox-dependent and inflammatory signalling pathways activated during aging; and (6) new concepts in the treatment of hypertension.

Dr. Anastasia Susie Mihailidou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Sex-Specificity of Mineralocorticoid Target Gene Expression during Renal Development, and Long-Term Consequences
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 457; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms18020457 - 21 Feb 2017
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2148
Abstract
Sex differences have been identified in various biological processes, including hypertension. The mineralocorticoid signaling pathway is an important contributor to early arterial hypertension, however its sex-specific expression has been scarcely studied, particularly with respect to the kidney. Basal systolic blood pressure (SBP) and [...] Read more.
Sex differences have been identified in various biological processes, including hypertension. The mineralocorticoid signaling pathway is an important contributor to early arterial hypertension, however its sex-specific expression has been scarcely studied, particularly with respect to the kidney. Basal systolic blood pressure (SBP) and heart rate (HR) were measured in adult male and female mice. Renal gene expression studies of major players of mineralocorticoid signaling were performed at different developmental stages in male and female mice using reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), and were compared to those of the same genes in the lung, another mineralocorticoid epithelial target tissue that regulates ion exchange and electrolyte balance. The role of sex hormones in the regulation of these genes was also investigated in differentiated KC3AC1 renal cells. Additionally, renal expression of the 11 β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11βHSD2) protein, a regulator of mineralocorticoid specificity, was measured by immunoblotting and its activity was indirectly assessed in the plasma using liquid-chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry in tandem (LC-MSMS) method. SBP and HR were found to be significantly lower in females compared to males. This was accompanied by a sex- and tissue-specific expression profile throughout renal development of the mineralocorticoid target genes serum and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (Sgk1) and glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper protein (Gilz), together with Hsd11b2, Finally, the implication of sex hormones in this sex-specific expression profile was demonstrated in vitro, most notably for Gilz mRNA expression. We demonstrate a tissue-specific, sex-dependent and developmentally-regulated pattern of expression of the mineralocorticoid pathway that could have important implications in physiology and pathology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
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Article
High Salt Diet Affects Renal Sodium Excretion and ERRα Expression
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 480; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17040480 - 01 Apr 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2884
Abstract
Kidneys regulate the balance of water and sodium and therefore are related to blood pressure. It is unclear whether estrogen-related receptor α (ERRα), an orphan nuclear receptor and transcription factor highly expressed in kidneys, affects the reabsorption of water and sodium. The aim [...] Read more.
Kidneys regulate the balance of water and sodium and therefore are related to blood pressure. It is unclear whether estrogen-related receptor α (ERRα), an orphan nuclear receptor and transcription factor highly expressed in kidneys, affects the reabsorption of water and sodium. The aim of this study was to determine whether changes in the expressions of ERRα, Na+/K+-ATPase and epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) proteins affected the reabsorption of water and sodium in kidneys of Dahl salt-sensitive (DS) rats. SS.13BN rats, 98% homologous to the DS rats, were used as a normotensive control group. The 24 h urinary sodium excretion of the DS and SS.13BN rats increased after the 6-week high salt diet intervention, while sodium excretion was increased in DS rats with daidzein (agonist of ERRα) treatment. ERRα expression was decreased, while β- and γ-ENaC mRNA expressions were increased upon high sodium diet treatment in the DS rats. In the chromatin immunoprecipitation (CHIP) assay, positive PCR signals were obtained in samples treated with anti-ERRα antibody. The transcriptional activity of ERRα was decreased upon high salt diet intervention. ERRα reduced the expressions of β- and γ-ENaC by binding to the ENaC promoter, thereby increased Na+ reabsorption. Therefore, ERRα might be one of the factors causing salt-sensitive hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
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Review

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Review
Angiotensin A/Alamandine/MrgD Axis: Another Clue to Understanding Cardiovascular Pathophysiology
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1098; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17071098 - 20 Jul 2016
Cited by 54 | Viewed by 4147
Abstract
The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays a crucial role in cardiovascular regulations and its modulation is a challenging target for the vast majority of cardioprotective strategies. However, many biological effects of these drugs cannot be explained by the known mode of action. Our comprehension [...] Read more.
The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays a crucial role in cardiovascular regulations and its modulation is a challenging target for the vast majority of cardioprotective strategies. However, many biological effects of these drugs cannot be explained by the known mode of action. Our comprehension of the RAS is thus far from complete. The RAS represents an ingenious system of “checks and balances”. It incorporates vasoconstrictive, pro-proliferative, and pro-inflammatory compounds on one hand and molecules with opposing action on the other hand. The list of these molecules is still not definitive because new biological properties can be achieved by minor alteration of the molecular structure. The angiotensin A/alamandine-MrgD cascade associates the deleterious and protective branches of the RAS. Its identification provided a novel clue to the understanding of the RAS. Angiotensin A (Ang A) is positioned at the “crossroad” in this system since it either elicits direct vasoconstrictive and pro-proliferative actions or it is further metabolized to alamandine, triggering opposing effects. Alamandine, the central molecule of this cascade, can be generated both from the “deleterious” Ang A as well as from the “protective” angiotensin 1–7. This pathway modulates peripheral and central blood pressure regulation and cardiovascular remodeling. Further research will elucidate its interactions in cardiovascular pathophysiology and its possible therapeutic implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
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Review
Role of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System beyond Blood Pressure Regulation: Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Involved in End-Organ Damage during Arterial Hypertension
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 797; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17070797 - 23 Jun 2016
Cited by 120 | Viewed by 11202
Abstract
Arterial hypertension is a common condition worldwide and an important predictor of several complicated diseases. Arterial hypertension can be triggered by many factors, including physiological, genetic, and lifestyle causes. Specifically, molecules of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system not only play important roles in the control [...] Read more.
Arterial hypertension is a common condition worldwide and an important predictor of several complicated diseases. Arterial hypertension can be triggered by many factors, including physiological, genetic, and lifestyle causes. Specifically, molecules of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system not only play important roles in the control of blood pressure, but they are also associated with the genesis of arterial hypertension, thus constituting a need for pharmacological interventions. Chronic high pressure generates mechanical damage along the vascular system, heart, and kidneys, which are the principal organs affected in this condition. In addition to mechanical stress, hypertension-induced oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and the activation of reparative mechanisms lead to end-organ damage, mainly due to fibrosis. Clinical trials have demonstrated that renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system intervention in hypertensive patients lowers morbidity/mortality and inflammatory marker levels as compared to placebo patients, evidencing that this system controls more than blood pressure. This review emphasizes the detrimental effects that a renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) imbalance has on health considerations above and beyond high blood pressure, such as fibrotic end-organ damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
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Review
Molecular Mechanisms of Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 761; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17050761 - 18 May 2016
Cited by 74 | Viewed by 6014
Abstract
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease that is precipitated by hypertrophic pulmonary vascular remodeling of distal arterioles to increase pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance in the absence of left heart, lung parenchymal, or thromboembolic disease. Despite available medical therapy, [...] Read more.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease that is precipitated by hypertrophic pulmonary vascular remodeling of distal arterioles to increase pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance in the absence of left heart, lung parenchymal, or thromboembolic disease. Despite available medical therapy, pulmonary artery remodeling and its attendant hemodynamic consequences result in right ventricular dysfunction, failure, and early death. To limit morbidity and mortality, attention has focused on identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying aberrant pulmonary artery remodeling to identify pathways for intervention. While there is a well-recognized heritable genetic component to PAH, there is also evidence of other genetic perturbations, including pulmonary vascular cell DNA damage, activation of the DNA damage response, and variations in microRNA expression. These findings likely contribute, in part, to dysregulation of proliferation and apoptosis signaling pathways akin to what is observed in cancer; changes in cellular metabolism, metabolic flux, and mitochondrial function; and endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition as key signaling pathways that promote pulmonary vascular remodeling. This review will highlight recent advances in the field with an emphasis on the aforementioned molecular mechanisms as contributors to the pulmonary vascular disease pathophenotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
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Review
Heart Disease in Women: Unappreciated Challenges, GPER as a New Target
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 760; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050760 - 18 May 2016
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2620
Abstract
Heart disease in women remains underappreciated, underdiagnosed and undertreated. Further, although we are starting to understand some of the social and behavioral determinants for this, the biological basis for the increased rate of rise in atherosclerosis risk in women after menopause remains very [...] Read more.
Heart disease in women remains underappreciated, underdiagnosed and undertreated. Further, although we are starting to understand some of the social and behavioral determinants for this, the biological basis for the increased rate of rise in atherosclerosis risk in women after menopause remains very poorly understand. In this review we will outline the scope of the clinical issues related to heart disease in women, the emerging findings regarding the biological basis underlying the increased prevalence of atherosclerotic risk factors in postmenopausal women (vs. men) and the role of the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) and its genetic regulation as a determinant of these sex-specific risks. GPER is a recently appreciated GPCR that mediates the rapid effects of estrogen and aldosterone. Recent studies have identified that GPER activation regulates both blood pressure. We have shown that regulation of GPER function via expression of a hypofunctional GPER genetic variant is an important determinant of blood pressure and risk of hypertension in women. Further, our most recent studies have identified that GPER activation is an important regulator of low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor metabolism and that expression of the hypofunctional GPER genetic variant is an important contributor to the development of hypercholesterolemia in women. GPER appears to be an important determinant of the two major risk factors for coronary artery disease-blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Further, the importance of this mechanism appears to be greater in women. Thus, the appreciation of the role of GPER function as a determinant of the progression of atherosclerotic disease may be important both in our understanding of cardiometabolic function but also in opening the way to greater appreciation of the sex-specific regulation of atherosclerotic risk factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
Review
DNA Damage: A Main Determinant of Vascular Aging
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 748; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17050748 - 18 May 2016
Cited by 46 | Viewed by 6687
Abstract
Vascular aging plays a central role in health problems and mortality in older people. Apart from the impact of several classical cardiovascular risk factors on the vasculature, chronological aging remains the single most important determinant of cardiovascular problems. The causative mechanisms by which [...] Read more.
Vascular aging plays a central role in health problems and mortality in older people. Apart from the impact of several classical cardiovascular risk factors on the vasculature, chronological aging remains the single most important determinant of cardiovascular problems. The causative mechanisms by which chronological aging mediates its impact, independently from classical risk factors, remain to be elucidated. In recent years evidence has accumulated that unrepaired DNA damage may play an important role. Observations in animal models and in humans indicate that under conditions during which DNA damage accumulates in an accelerated rate, functional decline of the vasculature takes place in a similar but more rapid or more exaggerated way than occurs in the absence of such conditions. Also epidemiological studies suggest a relationship between DNA maintenance and age-related cardiovascular disease. Accordingly, mouse models of defective DNA repair are means to study the mechanisms involved in biological aging of the vasculature. We here review the evidence of the role of DNA damage in vascular aging, and present mechanisms by which genomic instability interferes with regulation of the vascular tone. In addition, we present potential remedies against vascular aging induced by genomic instability. Central to this review is the role of diverse types of DNA damage (telomeric, non-telomeric and mitochondrial), of cellular changes (apoptosis, senescence, autophagy), mediators of senescence and cell growth (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP)/senescence-messaging secretome (SMS), insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling), the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) axis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) vs. endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling, phosphodiesterase (PDE) 1 and 5, transcription factor NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2), and diet restriction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
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Review
Epigenetic Modifications in Essential Hypertension
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040451 - 25 Mar 2016
Cited by 60 | Viewed by 6107
Abstract
Essential hypertension (EH) is a complex, polygenic condition with no single causative agent. Despite advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of EH, hypertension remains one of the world’s leading public health problems. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that epigenetic modifications are as [...] Read more.
Essential hypertension (EH) is a complex, polygenic condition with no single causative agent. Despite advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of EH, hypertension remains one of the world’s leading public health problems. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that epigenetic modifications are as important as genetic predisposition in the development of EH. Indeed, a complex and interactive genetic and environmental system exists to determine an individual’s risk of EH. Epigenetics refers to all heritable changes to the regulation of gene expression as well as chromatin remodelling, without involvement of nucleotide sequence changes. Epigenetic modification is recognized as an essential process in biology, but is now being investigated for its role in the development of specific pathologic conditions, including EH. Epigenetic research will provide insights into the pathogenesis of blood pressure regulation that cannot be explained by classic Mendelian inheritance. This review concentrates on epigenetic modifications to DNA structure, including the influence of non-coding RNAs on hypertension development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
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Review
Reprogramming: A Preventive Strategy in Hypertension Focusing on the Kidney
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(1), 23; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms17010023 - 25 Dec 2015
Cited by 64 | Viewed by 2880
Abstract
Adulthood hypertension can be programmed in response to a suboptimal environment in early life. However, developmental plasticity also implies that one can prevent hypertension in adult life by administrating appropriate compounds during early development. We have termed this reprogramming. While the risk of [...] Read more.
Adulthood hypertension can be programmed in response to a suboptimal environment in early life. However, developmental plasticity also implies that one can prevent hypertension in adult life by administrating appropriate compounds during early development. We have termed this reprogramming. While the risk of hypertension has been assessed in many mother-child cohorts of human developmental programming, interventions necessary to prove causation and provide a reprogramming strategy are lacking. Since the developing kidney is particularly vulnerable to environmental insults and blood pressure is determined by kidney function, renal programming is considered key in developmental programming of hypertension. Common pathways, whereby both genetic and acquired developmental programming converge into the same phenotype, have been recognized. For instance, the same reprogramming interventions aimed at shifting nitric oxide (NO)-reactive oxygen species (ROS) balance, such as perinatal citrulline or melatonin supplements, can be protective in both genetic and developmentally programmed hypertension. Furthermore, a significantly increased expression of gene Ephx2 (soluble epoxide hydrolase) was noted in both genetic and acquired animal models of hypertension. Since a suboptimal environment is often multifactorial, such common reprogramming pathways are a practical finding for translation to the clinic. This review provides an overview of potential clinical applications of reprogramming strategies to prevent programmed hypertension. We emphasize the kidney in the following areas: mechanistic insights from human studies and animal models to interpret programmed hypertension; identified risk factors of human programmed hypertension from mother-child cohorts; and the impact of reprogramming strategies on programmed hypertension from animal models. It is critical that the observed effects on developmental reprogramming in animal models are replicated in human studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Hypertension)
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