gms | German Medical Science

27. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga

Deutsche Liga zur Bekämpfung des hohen Blutdrucks – Deutsche Hypertonie Gesellschaft e. V.

26. bis 29.11.2003, Bonn

Reduced myocardial NGF production and decreased norepinephrine stores in human essential hypertension

Verminderte myokardiale NGF Produktion und verringerte Noradrenalin Speicher bei essentieller Hypertonie

Meeting Abstract (Hypertonie 2003)

  • presenting/speaker M.P. Schlaich - Erlangen, D; Melbourne, AUS
  • D. Kaye - Erlangen, D; Melbourne, AUS
  • G. Lambert - Erlangen, D; Melbourne, AUS
  • M. Esler - Erlangen, D; Melbourne, AUS

Hypertonie 2003. 27. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga. Bonn, 26.-29.11.2003. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc03hochP74

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: November 11, 2004

© 2004 Schlaich et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Increased nerve growth factor (NGF) expression has been linked to sympathetic hyperinnervation in rat models of hypertension. Whether this might also be the case in human hypertension has not yet been investigated.

Methods and Results

Cardiac NE stores, as an index of sympathetic innervation, were measured from the rate of overflow of the NE metabolite, dihydroxyphenylglycol (DHPG), and its tritiated form into the coronary sinus (CS) during an infusion of [3H]NE in 39 hypertensive patients (EH) and 73 matched normotensive control subjects (NT), on the basis that the [3H]DHPG/DHPG concentration ratio in CS plasma is inversely proportional to vesicular NE stores in the heart. To complement these data, we also determined the transcardiac gradients for plasma NGF. Cardiac NE spillover was higher in hypertensive patients (NT: 89.5±6.6 vs EH: 142.9±14.8 pmol/min; p<0.01). However, the plasma NGF gradient across the heart (NT: 21.1±6.6 vs EH: -5.8±6.2pg/ml; p<0.05) and the size of cardiac NE stores (NT: 713±67 vs EH: 328±180 nmol; p<0.05) were substantially reduced in hypertensive patients.


Cardiac sympathetic activation in essential hypertension is accompanied by reduced cardiac NGF production and decreased NE stores. In contrast to animal models of hypertension, sympathetic hyperinnervation seems to be excluded in human hypertension, where the decrease in NGF production and cardiac NE stores may represent an adaptive response to increased cardiac NE release.