Hypertension, hypertrophy, and reperfusion injury

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Abstract

The heart of patients with hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy is more vulnerable to ischemia–reperfusion injury (IRI). Here we discuss the main mechanisms of IRI and possible targets for cardioprotection. In particular, we consider the viewpoint that hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy may act synergistically in increasing the predisposition to cardiovascular accidents and in worsening IRI. There is no doubt that hypertrophic hearts may be redirected to be less vulnerable to IRI. Some experimental evidences suggest that antihypertensive drugs may have beneficial effects, some of which are not directly related to hypertension-lowering effect. However, more thorough experimental and clinical studies are necessary to understand the mechanisms and to maximize the beneficial effects of reperfusion after a heart attack in the presence of comorbidities, such as hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy.

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