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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 230868, 15 pages
Review Article

Hypertension in Metabolic Syndrome: Vascular Pathophysiology

Department of Medical Sciences, University of Castilla-La Mancha, School of Medicine and Regional Centre for Biomedical Research (CRIB), 02006 Albacete, Spain

Received 28 November 2012; Revised 5 February 2013; Accepted 13 February 2013

Academic Editor: Roberto Miguel Miatello

Copyright © 2013 Yolanda Mendizábal 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.


Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic and cardiovascular symptoms: insulin resistance (IR), obesity, dyslipemia. Hypertension and vascular disorders are central to this syndrome. After a brief historical review, we discuss the role of sympathetic tone. Subsequently, we examine the link between endothelial dysfunction and IR. NO is involved in the insulin-elicited capillary vasodilatation. The insulin-signaling pathways causing NO release are different to the classical. There is a vasodilatory pathway with activation of NO synthase through Akt, and a vasoconstrictor pathway that involves the release of endothelin-1 via MAPK. IR is associated with an imbalance between both pathways in favour of the vasoconstrictor one. We also consider the link between hypertension and IR: the insulin hypothesis of hypertension. Next we discuss the importance of perivascular adipose tissue and the role of adipokines that possess vasoactive properties. Finally, animal models used in the study of vascular function of metabolic syndrome are reviewed. In particular, the Zucker fatty rat and the spontaneously hypertensive obese rat (SHROB). This one suffers macro- and microvascular malfunction due to a failure in the NO system and an abnormally high release of vasoconstrictor prostaglandins, all this alleviated with glitazones used for metabolic syndrome therapy.