Yes! sex matters: Sex, the brain and blood pressure

Meredith Hay, Baojian Xue, Alan Kim Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The role of the brain in hypertension between the sexes is known to be important especially with regards to the effects of circulating sex hormones. A number of different brain regions important for regulation of sympathetic outflow and blood pressure express estrogen receptors (ERα and ERβ). Estradiol, acting predominantly via the ERα, inhibits angiotensin II activation of the area postrema and subfornical organ neurons and inhibits reactive oxygen generation that is required for the development of Angiotensin II-induced neurogenic hypertension. Estradiol activation of ERβ within the paraventricular nucleus and the rostral ventral lateral medulla inhibits these neurons and inhibits angiotensin II, or aldosterone induced increases in sympathetic outflow and hypertension. Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying ERα and ERβ actions within key brain regions regulating blood pressure will be essential for the development of "next generation" selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS) that can be used clinically for the treatment of neurogenic hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number458
JournalCurrent Hypertension Reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Area postrema
  • Estradiol
  • Estrogen receptors
  • Gender
  • Hypertension
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nucleus of the solitary tract
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Rostral ventral lateralmedulla
  • Sex
  • Subfornical organ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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