Reprogramming: A preventive strategy in hypertension focusing on the kidney

You Lin Tain, Jaap A. Joles*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Adulthood hypertension can be programmed in response to a suboptimal environment in early life. However, developmental plasticity also implies that one can prevent hypertension in adult life by administrating appropriate compounds during early development. We have termed this reprogramming. While the risk of hypertension has been assessed in many mother-child cohorts of human developmental programming, interventions necessary to prove causation and provide a reprogramming strategy are lacking. Since the developing kidney is particularly vulnerable to environmental insults and blood pressure is determined by kidney function, renal programming is considered key in developmental programming of hypertension. Common pathways, whereby both genetic and acquired developmental programming converge into the same phenotype, have been recognized. For instance, the same reprogramming interventions aimed at shifting nitric oxide (NO)-reactive oxygen species (ROS) balance, such as perinatal citrulline or melatonin supplements, can be protective in both genetic and developmentally programmed hypertension. Furthermore, a significantly increased expression of gene Ephx2 (soluble epoxide hydrolase) was noted in both genetic and acquired animal models of hypertension. Since a suboptimal environment is often multifactorial, such common reprogramming pathways are a practical finding for translation to the clinic. This review provides an overview of potential clinical applications of reprogramming strategies to prevent programmed hypertension. We emphasize the kidney in the following areas: mechanistic insights from human studies and animal models to interpret programmed hypertension; identified risk factors of human programmed hypertension from mother-child cohorts; and the impact of reprogramming strategies on programmed hypertension from animal models. It is critical that the observed effects on developmental reprogramming in animal models are replicated in human studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 01 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Developmental programming
  • Nitric oxide
  • Perinatal supplements
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Soluble epoxide hydrolase


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