Sodium, Interstitium, Lymphatics, and Hypertension-A Tale of Hydraulics: Salt Series. Academic Article uri icon


  • Blood pressure is regulated by vascular resistance and intravascular volume. However, exchanges of electrolytes and water between intra and extracellular spaces and filtration of fluid and solutes in the capillary beds blur the separation between intravascular and interstitial compartments. Contemporary paradigms of microvascular exchange posit filtration of fluids and solutes along the whole capillary bed and a prominent role of lymphatic vessels, rather than its venous end, for their reabsorption. In the last decade, these concepts have stimulated greater interest in and better understanding of the lymphatic system as one of the master regulators of interstitial volume homeostasis. Here, we describe the anatomy and function of the lymphatic system and focus on its plasticity in relation to the accumulation of interstitial sodium in hypertension. The pathophysiological relevance of the lymphatic system is exemplified in the kidneys, which are crucially involved in the control of blood pressure, but also hypertension-mediated cardiac damage. Preclinical modulation of the lymphatic reserve for tissue drainage has demonstrated promise and also generated conflicting results thus far. A better understanding of the hydraulic element of hypertension and the role of lymphatics in maintaining fluid balance can open new approaches to prevent and treat hypertension and its consequences, such as heart failure.

published proceedings

  • Hypertension

altmetric score

  • 13.05

author list (cited authors)

  • Rossitto, G., Bertoldi, G., Rutkowski, J. M., Mitchell, B. M., & Delles, C.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Rossitto, Giacomo||Bertoldi, Giovanni||Rutkowski, Joseph M||Mitchell, Brett M||Delles, Christian

publication date

  • February 2024