1988 Volume 21, Issue 3, p13-8
The thrust of this essay will be to organize a growing body of evidence which indicates that an abnormality of the kidney, and the adrenal, involving disordered regulation through the renin-angiotensin system, is responsible for the pathogenesis in about 45% of patients--a discrete subgroup that may be most common cause of hypertension. That fundamental abnormality leads to disordered renal sodium handling and sodium-sensitive hypertension, abnormalities in the renal vascular response to changes in sodium intake and to angiotensin II, blunted decrements of renin release in response to saline or angiotensin II, and an accentuated renal vasodilator response to angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition. ACE inhibition not only increases renal blood flow substantially more in these patients than it does in normal subjects, ACE inhibition also restores to normal the renal vascular and adrenal response to angiotensin II, renin release in response to angiotensin II, renal sodium handling--and ultimately blood pressure. Finally, and perhaps most intriguing, similar abnormalities have been found in 50% of the normotensive offspring of patients with essential hypertension and evidence is accruing to indicate that the abnormality is inherited as a Mendelian dominant.
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