New research suggests that oxidation and inflammation may cause alterations in self-proteins that activate an immune response, leading to blood pressure elevation (Kirabo A et al. J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI74084 [published online September 17, 2014]).
Using mouse models of hypertension, a team led by investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville found that proteins oxidatively modified by molecules called isoketals activate antigen-presenting dendritic cells of the immune system. These cells in turn stimulate T cells to produce cytokines that promote hypertension. Compounds that scavenge isoketals prevented these hypertension-associated events.
Hampton T. Hypertension May Be an Autoimmune Disease. JAMA. 2014;312(17):1729. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.14883