Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center now propose that high blood pressure may – at least in part – be an autoimmune disease [JAMA Nov. 5, 2014]. Although they initially observed certain “self-proteins” activating an immune response in hypertensive mice, the scientists next discovered the same proteins elevated in circulating immune cells from hypertensive humans.
This discovery points to a previously unrecognized pathway that may cause or contribute to high blood pressure, and opens the door to a whole host of new therapies to treat this common disease.
Remember that high blood pressure increases the risk for blood vessel disease, heart failure, myocardial infarction, and death, and that adequate treatment blunts the increased risk. Stay tuned to see what, if any, immune therapies turn out to be safe and effective remedies for hypertension, and to learn what current dogma will be overturned next.
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