Aldosterone, cognitive function, and cerebral hemodynamics in hypertension and antihypertensive therapy

Ihab Hajjar, Meaghan Hart, Wendy MacK, Lewis A. Lipsitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Animal studies suggest that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is involved in neurocognitive function and the response to antihypertensive therapy. We investigated the impact of circulating aldosterone and renin activity on cognition and cerebral hemodynamics at baseline and after antihypertensive therapy for 1 year. methods Participants were older adults (n = 47; mean age = 71 years) enrolled in a clinical trial. Routine antihypertensive medications were replaced with the study regimen to achieve a blood pressure < 140/90 mm Hg. Executive function, memory, cerebral hemodynamics (blood flow velocity), CO2 vasoreactivity (measured using transcranial Doppler ultrasonography), plasma renin activity, and aldosterone were measured at baseline and at 6 and 12 months after the initiation of treatment. results At baseline, higher levels of circulating aldosterone were associated with lower blood flow velocity (β =-0.02; P = 0.03), lower CO2 vasoreactivity (β =-0.11; P = 0.007), and decreased autoregulation abilities (β =-0.09; P = 0.01). Those with higher levels of aldosterone at baseline demonstrated the greatest improvement in executive function (P = 0.014 for the aldosterone effect) and in CO2 vasoreactivity (P = 0.026 for the aldosterone effect) after 12 months of lowering blood pressure (< 140/90 mm Hg). Plasma renin activity was not associated with any of the measures. conclusions Higher levels of aldosterone may be associated with decreased cerebrovascular function in hypertension. Those with higher aldosterone levels may benefit the most from lowering blood pressure. The role of aldosterone in brain health warrants further investigation in a larger trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-325
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aldosterone
  • Blood flow velocity hypertension
  • Blood pressure
  • Cognition
  • Renin
  • Vasoreactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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