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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2012, Article ID 150107, 10 pages
Review Article

New and Old Mechanisms Associated with Hypertension in the Elderly

Cardiovascular Research Unit, Cardiology Department, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Madrid 28040, Spain

Received 21 July 2011; Accepted 19 August 2011

Academic Editor: Blas Gil Extremera

Copyright © 2012 Petra J. Mateos-Cáceres et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hypertension is a widely prevalent and important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases that increase with aging. The hallmark of hypertension in the elderly is increased vascular dysfunction. However, the molecular mechanisms by which increased blood pressure leads to vascular injury and impaired endothelial function are not well defined. In the present paper, we will analyze several mechanisms described in the scientific literature involved in hypertension in the elderly as endothelial dysfunction, increased oxygen delivery to tissues, inflammation, cellular apoptosis, and increased concentration of active metabolites. Also, we will focus on new molecular mechanisms involved in hypertension such as telomeres shortening, progenitor cells, circulating microparticles, and epigenetic factors that have appeared as possible causes of hypertension in the elderly. These molecular mechanisms may elucidate different origin for hypertension in the elderly and provide us with new targets for hypertension treatment.