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Sex differences in hypertension: a role for the macrophage-endothelin system?

Greg Sutton, Queen's Medical Research Institute, Edinburgh



Hypertension is common and affects approximately 30% of adults worldwide. It is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The cause of hypertension is complex with no single factor explaining the rise in blood pressure. Our group has focused on the role of endothelin-1 (ET-1), the most potent vasoconstrictor, in hypertension. We established that macrophages are able to regulate blood pressure by removing extracellular ET-1 preventing it acting on its target vascular smooth muscle cell to lead to an increase in blood pressure in male mice.

This study aims to establish if the macrophage-ET system varies with sex. Male, but not female, macrophages have previously been observed to clear extracellular ET-1. Consequently, the contribution of the macrophage-ET system to blood pressure regulation was assessed in male and female mice. The loss of the macrophage-ET system unexpectedly reduced blood pressure in females. This study had to be cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was unable to answer two significant endpoints: vascular and renal function. This project aims to determine what effect the male and female macrophage-ET system has on vascular and renal function in hypertension.


Grant awarded: £1,995.54

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