Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Physiology 2016 (Dublin, Ireland) (2016) Proc Physiol Soc 37, PL09

Poster Communications

Is high blood pressure self-protection for the brain?

E. Hart1

1. University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.


Hypertension is the leading contributor to the global burden of disease and mortality. However, the mechanisms that lead to hypertension are poorly understood. It is well accepted that sympathoexcitation plays a major role in the development of human hypertension, yet, exactly what triggers elevations in sympathetic nerve activity in the first instance is unclear. This talk will centre on the concept that human hypertension may develop as a vital mechanism to maintain adequate blood flow to the brain. In particular, the talk will focus on new evidence indicating a high prevalence of cerebral anatomical abnormalities, elevated cerebral vascular resistance and regional hypoperfusion in humans with hypertension. Finally, data suggesting that brain blood flow is a major factor in triggering hypertension and that lowering blood pressure may worsen cerebral perfusion in susceptible individuals will be discussed.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements