Translational medicine is concerned with the translation of research discoveries into clinical applications for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. Here the research concerning the role of the renal sympathetic nerves (efferent and afferent) in the control of renal function, with particular reference to hypertension. The accumulated evidence is compelling for a primary role of the renal innervation in the pathogenesis of hypertension. These research discoveries led to the development of a catheter- based procedure for renal denervation in human subjects. A proof-of-principle study in patients with hypertension resistant to conventional therapy has demonstrated that the procedure is safe and produces renal denervation with sustained lowering of arterial pressure.