Author(s): Huggett RJ, Burns J, Mackintosh AF, Mary DA
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Abstract Hypertension is a major cardiovascular risk factor in the metabolic syndrome (MS) in which the presence of insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, abnormal lipoprotein metabolism, and central obesity all confer an increased risk. Because essential hypertension (EHT), insulinemia, and visceral fat are associated with sympathetic hyperactivity, which is itself known to increase cardiovascular risk, the aim of this study was to see if MS is a state of sympathetic nerve hyperactivity and if the additional presence of EHT intensifies this hyperactivity. In 69 closely matched subjects, comprising hypertensive MS (MS+EHT, 18), normotensive MS (MS-EHT, 17), hypertensives without MS (EHT, 16), and normotensive controls without MS (NC, 18), we measured resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) as assessed from multiunit discharges and from single units with defined vasoconstrictor properties (s-MSNA). The s-MSNA in MS+EHT (76+/-3.1 impulses/100 beats) was greater (at least P<0.01) than in MS-EHT (62+/-3.2 impulses/100 beats) and in EHT (60+/-2.3 impulses/100 beats), and all these were significantly greater (at least P<0.01) than in NC (46+/-2.7 impulse/100 beats). The multi-unit MSNA followed a similar trend. These findings suggest that MS is a state of sympathetic nerve hyperactivity and that the additional presence of hypertension further intensifies this hyperactivity. The degree of sympathetic hyperactivity seen in this study could be argued at least partly to contribute to the higher cardiovascular risk and metabolic abnormalities seen in MS+EHT patients.
This article was published in Hypertension
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine