Research press release


Nature Communications

Health: A novel surgical approach to treat high blood pressure



今回、Giuseppe Lemboたちは、マウスを用いた研究を実施し、高血圧発症の初期段階で、免疫系の主要器官である脾臓への神経活動(交感神経発射)が増加していることを明らかにした。この神経発射は、その後のT細胞(リンパ球の一種)が関与する免疫応答に寄与している。この免疫応答で、脾臓内のT細胞が血流に入り、血圧の制御に直接関与する器官(例えば、腎臓や大動脈)に侵入する。こうした脳と脾臓の間の情報伝達には、迷走神経と脾臓神経という2種類の神経が関与しており、脾臓神経上のα7nAChRsという受容体の活性を特異的に必要とする。


A new therapeutic approach for treating high blood pressure is suggested in a study in mice published this week in Nature Communications. These results, if validated in humans, could be used to help control blood pressure in a significant number of people that do not respond to any available treatment.

Previous studies suggest that the nervous and immune systems are likely to be interacting in development of high blood pressure (hypertension), but this interplay has not been directly proven until now.

Giuseppe Lembo and his colleagues show that during early phases of high blood pressure development, mice exhibit increased nerve activity (sympathetic nerve discharge) to the spleen, a major organ of the immune system. This nerve discharge contributes to a subsequent immune response mediated by a subgroup of lymphocytes, termed T cells, that leave the spleen and enter the blood stream to infiltrate organs directly involved in blood pressure regulation, such as the kidneys and the aorta. The communication between the brain and the spleen is mediated by two nerves, the vagus and the splenic nerve, and it requires activity of a specific receptor on the splenic nerve, known as α7nAChRs.

In order to provide additional evidence that brain-spleen communication initiates hypertension development, the authors applied localized heat on the splenic nerve that permanently inhibited nerve activity. This surgical intervention prevented T cell egress from the spleen to the vasculature and kidneys, thereby preventing hypertension development in mice.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms13035

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