Aberrant innate immune system activation in the mother contributes greatly to the development of hypertension during pregnancy. Numerous groups have elicited vascular inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and hypertension in animals during gestation by directly activating Toll-like receptors. Additionally, several experimental therapies that reduce pro-inflammatory immune cells and cytokines restore vascular endothelial function and normalize blood pressure.
This review will summarize the research demonstrating that an excessive maternal innate immune response is sufficient to cause vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, which contributes to the development of hypertension during pregnancy. Dampening the vascular inflammation caused by immune responses may reduce the incidence and severity of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.