Dry mouth is one of those things you sort of ignore until you can refill your water bottle. Maybe you should take a second to consider it, though, as hyposalivation (dry mouth) is actually an indicator of hypertension.
Hypertension affects one in three adults worldwide, and this number is expected to rise over the next few years. Hyposalivation is an easy indicator of hypertension, though many people consider just an everyday thing. Why are hyposalivation and hypertension connected? A new study from Peking Union Medical College in China sought to weigh in by investigating long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and if they could reveal the link between the two.
LncRNAs are a family of molecules that are important signaling factors in the body. The more commonly known messenger RNA (mRNA) carries information that leads to proteins’ production, while lncRNAs act as the signals themselves. LncRNAs are implicated in everything from cancer progression, to the development of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. It was a natural choice then for the team to choose lncRNAs as indicators to investigate the relationship between hypertension and hyposalivation.
The study used a rodent model with one group predisposed to hypertension, and another acting as a healthy control. In the hypertension group, salivation was impaired with no apparent clinical reason as to why. The team expected this and moved onto examining the RNA profiles of the rodents.
A global check of the lncRNA and mRNA showed several hundred differential expressors. The mRNA data suggested an increase in inflammatory regulators affecting a family of protein channels connected to salivation. LncRNA analysis showed many of the top hits were involved in regulating the immune system. Top candidates in both sets are suggested to be useful for future studies.
The study suggests that the relationship between hypertension and hyposalivation may lie in the immune response commonly associated with hypertension. If true, then hyposalivation may be a side-effect of the overall immune response seen in hypertension.
The study concludes, “This study may provide valuable clues for further research, as the role of lncRNAs has not been fully uncovered in hyposalivation in hypertension.”