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Neuroinflammation has been implicated in hypertension, and microglia have been proposed to play an important role in the progression of this disease. Here, we have studied whether microglia are activated within cardiovascular regulatory area(s) of the brain during hypertension, especially in high blood pressure that is associated with chronic activation of the renin-angiotensin-system. In addition, we determined whether prorenin, an essential component of the renin-angiotensin-system, exerts direct pro-inflammatory effects on these microglia. Our data indicate that two rodent models which display neurogenic hypertension and over activation of the renin-angiotensin-system in the brain (sRA mice and spontaneously hypertensive rats) exhibit microglial activation, and increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, an area crucial for regulation of sympathetic outflow. Further, the renin-angiotensin-system component prorenin elicits directactivation of hypothalamic microglia in culture and induction of pro-inflammatory mechanisms in these cells, effects that involve prorenin receptor-induced NFκB activation. In addition, the prorenin-elicited increases in cytokine expression were fully abolished by microglial inhibitor minocycline, and were potentiated by pre-treatment of cells with angiotensin II. Taken together with our previous data which indicate that pro-inflammatory processes in the paraventricular nucleus are involved in the hypertensive action of renin-angiotensin-system, the novel discovery that prorenin exerts direct stimulatory effects on microglial activation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production provides support for the idea that renin-angiotensin-system -induced neurogenic hypertension is not restricted to actions of angiotensin II alone.

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PLoS One

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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