Until recently it was thought that ROS were toxic byproducts of cellular metabolism, which induced DNA damage, lipid peroxidation, and cell death. However, it has become clear that oxygen free radicals are produced in the vessel wall in a controlled and tightly regulated manner and that they have critical signaling functions that maintain vascular integrity. In hypertension, dysregulation of enzymes such as NAD(P)H oxidase, NOS, xanthine oxidase, or SOD that generate *O2-, H2O2, and •OH, or reduced scavenging by endogenous antioxidants, results in increased formation of ROS, which has damaging actions on vascular structure and function. Oxidative stress in hypertension contributes to vascular injury by promoting VSMC growth, endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, increased vascular tone, and MMP activation. These processes lead to altered vascular contractility and structural remodeling, characteristic features of vessels in hypertension. Although inconclusive, clinical data suggest that treatment strategies to alter ROS production may improve vascular damage and reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients. With a greater insight into the understanding of mechanisms that regulate ROS metabolism and identification of processes that tip the balance to states of oxidative stress which cause vascular damage, it should be possible to target therapies more effectively so that detrimental actions of vascular oxygen free radicals can be reduced and beneficial effects of NO^ can be enhanced. Such therapies would be useful in the prevention and treatment of many disease processes associated with vascular damage, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. Novel targets that have been proposed include the nox isoforms, specifically nox1.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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