Hypertension is a major health problem with great consequences for public health. Despite its role as the primary cause of significant morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease, the pathogenesis of essential hypertension remains largely unknown. The central nervous system (CNS) in general, and the hypothalamus in particular, are intricately involved in the development and maintenance of hypertension. Over the last several decades, the understanding of the brain's role in the development of hypertension has dramatically increased. This brief review is to summarize the neural mechanisms of hypertension with a focus on neuroendocrine and neurotransmitter involvement, highlighting recent findings that suggest that hypothalamic inflammation disrupts key signalling pathways to affect the central control of blood pressure, and therefore suggesting future development of interventional strategies that exploit recent findings pertaining to the hypothalamic control of blood pressure as well as the inflammatory–sympathetic mechanisms involved in hypertension.

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