Sex differences in control of blood pressure: Role of oxidative stress in hypertension in females

Arnaldo Lopez-Ruiz, Julio Sartori-Valinotti, Licy L. Yanes, Radu Iliescu, Jane F. Reckelhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


In general, blood pressure is higher in normotensive men than in age-matched women, and the prevalence of hypertension in men is also higher until after menopause, when the prevalence of hypertension increases for women. It is likely then that the mechanisms by which blood pressure increases in men and women with aging may be different. Although clinical trials to reduce blood pressure with antioxidants have typically not been successful in human cohorts, studies in male rats suggest that oxidative stress plays an important role in mediating hypertension. The exact mechanisms by which oxidative stress increases blood pressure have not been completely elucidated. There may be several reasons for the discrepancies between clinical and animal studies. In this review, the data obtained in selected clinical and animal studies are discussed, and the hypothesis is put forward that oxidative stress may not be as important in mediating hypertension in females as has been shown previously in male rats. Furthermore, it is likely that differences in genetics, age, length of time with hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, and sex are all factored in to modulate the responses to antioxidants in humans. As such, future clinical trials should be designed and powered to evaluate the effects of oxidative stress on blood pressure separately in men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H466-H474
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • F-isoprostanes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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