Role of the sympathetic nervous system in human renovascular hypertension
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The findings in humans as to whether elevated sympathetic nerve activity contributes to renovascular hypertension have been less consistent compared with the results obtained in experimental models of renovascular hypertension. Collectively, there are several lines of evidence to support the view that sympathetic nerve activity is elevated in patients with renovascular hypertension. It is uncertain, however, whether this adrenergic overactivity is specific for renovascular hypertension per se, or the cause of severe hypertension with target organ damage. Central or peripheral stimulation of sympathetic nerve activity by angiotensin II, or stimulation of central sympathetic outflow via afferent renal nerves of ischemic kidneys, are possible mechanisms to explain the elevated sympathetic nerve activity in renovascular hypertension. Therapy that diminishes the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and the renin-angiotensin system seems rational and could perhaps also improve the poor prognosis for these patients.
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