Hypertension, Antihypertensive Use and the Delayed-Onset of Huntington's Disease

Jessica J. Steventon*, Anne E. Rosser, Emma Hart, Kevin Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Hypertension is a modifiable cardiovascular risk factor implicated in neurodegeneration and dementia risk. In Huntington's disease, a monogenic neurodegenerative disease, autonomic and vascular abnormalities have been reported. This study's objective was to examine the relationship between hypertension and disease severity and progression in Huntington's disease. 

Methods: Using longitudinal data from the largest worldwide observational study of Huntington's disease (n = 14,534), we assessed the relationship between hypertension, disease severity, and rate of clinical progression in Huntington's disease mutation carriers. Propensity score matching was used to statistically match normotensive and hypertensive participants for age, sex, body mass index, ethnicity, and CAG length. 

Results: Huntington's disease patients had a lower prevalence of hypertension compared with age-matched gene-negative controls. Huntington's disease patients with hypertension had worse cognitive function, a higher depression score, and more marked motor progression over time compared with Huntington's disease patients without hypertension. However, hypertensive patients taking antihypertensive medication had less motor, cognitive, and functional impairment than Huntington's disease patients with untreated hypertension and a later age of clinical onset compared with untreated hypertensive patients and normotensive individuals with Huntington's disease. 

Conclusions: We report the novel finding that hypertension and antihypertensive medication use are associated with altered disease severity, progression, and clinical onset in patients with Huntington's disease. These findings have implications for the management of hypertension in Huntington's disease and suggest that prospective studies of the symptomatic or disease-modifying potential of antihypertensives in neurodegenerative diseases are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number3
Early online date4 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2020


  • blood pressure
  • cardiovascular risk
  • hypertension
  • neurodegeneration

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