Oxidative stress in malignant and non-malignant phase hypertension

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Malignant hypertension (MHT) is a rare and severe form of hypertension characterised by arteriolar necrosis and severe vascular damage, leading to stroke, myocardial infarction and death. We hypothesised that in addition to endothelial damage, MHT may be associated with increased oxidative stress. Lipid hydroperoxides (LHP, an index of oxidative damage) and plasma von Willebrand factor (vWf, an index of endothelial damage/dysfunction) were measured in 16 patients with MHT and compared with 16 non-malignant essential hypertensives and 32 normotensive controls. vWf was greater in MHT (mean 117 iU/dL) than in non-malignant hypertensives (97 iU/dL) or normotensive controls (100 iU/dL) (ANOVA P = 0.017). However, although LHP were greater in MHT (mean 10.6 micromol/L) than in normotensives (4.5 micromol/L, P <0.001), the levels in MHT were similar to those in non-malignant hypertension (12.3 micromol/L). In conclusion endothelial damage (raised vWf) was more evident in MHT compared with both normotensive controls and with non-malignant hypertension, whilst oxidative stress (raised LHP) was increased to a similar extent in both hypertension groups when compared with normotensive controls. These observations raise the possibility abnormal oxidative stress is probably not the mechanism responsible for the endothelial damage seen in malignant phase hypertension.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-336
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2002


  • malignant hypertension, essential hypertension, von Willebrand factor, endothelial function, oxidative stress