The kidney and hypertension: lessons from mouse models.
The pathogenesis of hypertension is multi-factorial, involving many of the systems contributing to blood pressure homeostasis including the vasculature, kidneys, central, and sympathetic nervous systems, along with various hormonal regulators. However, over the years, many studies have indicated a predominant importance of the kidney in blood pressure homeostasis and hypertension. This work has established the notion that the kidney is a key determinant of the chronic level of intra-arterial pressure playing a major role in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Therefore, this review will focus on recent work using genetically modified mouse models addressing the role of the kidney in hypertension. In particular, human genetic studies of Mendelian disorders with major impact on blood pressure homeostasis have provided powerful evidence for a role of the kidney in hypertension. Of the approximately 20 genes identified as causal in these disorders, virtually all have an effect on the control of solute transport in the kidney. As such, we have especially focused on generation of mouse models addressing the nature of these specific molecular defects in nephron function that produce an alteration in blood pressure.
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