Hypertension is the major risk factor for morbidity and mortality from myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease. Despite its importance, the pathogenesis of essential hypertension is poorly understood. During the past several years, it has become evident that T cells contribute to hypertension. Activated T cells accumulate in the perivascular space and the kidney and release cytokines that promote vascular dysfunction and end-organ damage. Although dendritic cells play a pivotal role in initiating adaptive immune responses, T cells have taken center stage in studies implicating the immune system in the genesis of hypertension. The mechanisms by which T cells are activated and the antigens involved are poorly understood. We recently showed that hypertension is associated with increased dendritic cell production of the T17 polarizing cytokines, IL-6, IL-1β, and IL-23. This occurs in part by increased superoxide production via NADPH oxidase and protein modification by highly reactive isolevuglandins (IsoLGs). IsoLGs are produced via the isoprostane pathway of free radical-mediated lipid peroxidation and, when adducted to proteins, have the potential to act as neoantigens. In this review, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the role of antigen-presenting dendritic cells in the pathophysiology of hypertension and highlight potential neoantigens that may contribute to this disease.
Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.