Nitric oxide in hypertension: Relationship with renal injury and left ventricular hypertrophy

Leopoldo Raij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hypertension is accompanied by architectural changes in the kidney, heart, and vessels that are often maladaptive and can eventually contribute to end-organ disease such as renal failure, heart failure, and coronary disease. Nitric oxide, an endogenous vasodilator and antithrombotic agent synthesized in the endothelium by a constitutive nitric oxide synthase, inhibits growth-related responses to injury in vascular cells. Specifically, in the presence of hypertension, nitric oxide may work in the kidney by inhibiting both mesangial cell hypertrophy and hyperplasia as well as synthesis of extracellular matrix and in the heart and systemic vessels by modulating smooth muscle cell hypertrophy and hyperplasia. The effects of nitric oxide are antagonistic of the effects of angiotensin II. Shear stress and cyclic strain, physical forces known to operate in hypertension, are accompanied by increases in endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression, nitric oxide synthase protein, and nitric oxide synthase activity in endothelial cells. Experimental studies using genetic models of hypertension show a variation in hypertension-modulated vascular nitric oxide synthase activity in different strains of rats. These studies suggest that upregulation of vascular nitric oxide synthase activity is a homeostatic adaptation to increased hemodynamic workload in hypertension and that this may help prevent end-organ damage. If these findings apply to humans, differences in end-organ disease seen in patients with similar degrees of hypertension may be due in part to genetic differences in vascular nitric oxide synthase activity in response to hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-193
Number of pages5
Issue number1 II SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1998


  • Angiotensin II
  • Hypertension
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy
  • Nitric oxide
  • Renal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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