Sex differences in angiotensin II- and aldosterone-induced hypertension: The central protective effects of estrogen

Baojian Xue, Alan Kim Johnson, Meredith Hay

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65 Scopus citations


Premenopausal women have lower blood pressure and a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease compared with age-matched men. Similar sex differences have been seen across species and in multiple animal models of hypertension. While important progress over the last decade has been made in elucidating some of the mechanisms underlying these differences, there are still significant gaps in our knowledge. Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for sex differences in hypertension will be important for developing sex-specific therapies targeted toward the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Female sex hormones, especially estrogen, have been demonstrated to modulate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular function through actions not only on the kidney, heart, and vasculature, but also on the central nervous system (CNS). This review primarily focuses on the central regulatory actions of estrogen on brain nuclei involved in blood pressure regulation and the interactions between estrogen and the RAAS in the CNS by which estrogen plays an important protective role against the development of hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013



  • Blood pressure
  • Central nervous system
  • Estrogen/estrogen receptor
  • Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system
  • Sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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