Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure (BP), has been extensively researched over decades and clearly demonstrated to be caused due to a combination of host genetic and environmental factors. Although much research remains to be conducted to pin-point the precise genetic elements on the host genome that control BP, new lines of evidence are emerging to indicate that, besides the host genome, the genomes of all indigenous commensal micro-organisms, collectively referred to as the microbial metagenome or microbiome, are important, but largely understudied, determinants of BP. Unlike the rigid host genome, the microbiome or the “second genome” can be altered by diet or microbiotal transplantation in the host. This possibility is attractive from the perspective of exploiting the microbiotal composition for clinical management of inherited hypertension. Thus, focusing on the limited current literature supporting a role for the microbiome in BP regulation, this review highlights the need to further explore the role of the co-existence of host and the microbiota as an organized biological unit called the “holobiont” in the context of BP regulation.
This work was supported by National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Grant HL-020176 to B. Joe.
No conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, are declared by the author(s).
- Copyright © 2017 Int. Union Physiol. Sci./Am. Physiol. Soc.