, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 44-51

Inflammation, blood pressure, and stroke: an opportunity to target primary prevention?

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Promising findings suggest that systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation are central features in cerebrovascular disease. Inflammatory mechanisms are also important participants in the pathophysiology of hypertension. Markers of inflammation have been shown to be upregulated in different forms of cerebrovascular disease, and to correlate with vascular risk. The inhibitor nuclear factor-eB/nuclear factor-eB system is considered a major intracellular inflammatory pathway, mediating most of the vascular inflammatory responses. Increasing evidence indicates that hypertension, through the vasoactive peptides angiotensin and endothelin-1, promotes and accelerates the atherosclerotic process via inflammatory mechanisms. Proinflammatory properties of angiotensin II have been demonstrated. The identification of useful markers of inflammation, of new therapeutic targets to interfere with these mechanisms, and the evaluation of the efficacy of anti-inflammatory treatments will allow progress in our ability to combat cerebrovascular disease and the complications of hypertension. Whether these targets will be useful in the development of risk prediction strategies or therapies for the treatment of stroke in humans is far from clear.