The journal of physiological sciences : JPS

Long-term blood pressure control: is there a set-point in the brain?

PMID 22302247


Mean arterial pressure fluctuates depending on physical or psychological activity, but should be stable at rest at around 100 mmHg throughout an entire life in human. The causes of hypertension and the blood pressure regulation mechanisms have been discussed for a long time, and many aspects have recently become more clear. Circulatory shock or short-term hypotension can be treated based on what is now known, but chronic hypertension is still difficult to treat thoroughly. The exact mechanisms for long-term blood pressure regulation have yet not been elucidated. Neuro–humoral interaction has been suggested as one of the mechanisms. Then, from the 1990s, paracrine hormones like nitric oxide or endothelins have been extensively researched in order to develop endothelial local control mechanisms for blood pressure, which have some relationships to long-term control. Although these new ideas and mechanisms are newly developed, no clear explanation for long-term control has yet been discussed, except for renal abnormality. Recently, a central set-point theory has begun to be discussed. This review will discuss the mechanisms for long-term blood pressure control, based on putative biological missions of circulatory function for life support.

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