DEC 26, 2018 8:26 PM PST

New Blood Pressure Target

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to a study published in eLife, researchers concluded that a protein channel may serve as an effective target for blood pressure regulation. Targeting the channel in mice was found to reduce blood pressure. The study sheds new light on developing new drugs for the treatment of high blood pressure, a condition that serves as the leading cause of heart attack and stroke.

Learn more about blood pressure:

In general, blood pressure is influenced by muscles cells that line the walls of the arteries. These muscle cells include proteins in their surface called Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels which regulate the movement of sodium and calcium ions. The role of TRP in high blood pressure still remains unclear, however, 13 different TRP channels were confirmed to be present on the muscle cells lining the arteries.

"The contribution of TRP channels to normal blood pressure and to changes in blood pressure are unclear, and we don't know whether the different channel types in different organs are controlled in a similar way," states senior author of the study Jonathan Jaggar. "We chose to study a TRP channel called PKD2 because patients with genetic mutations in this protein have high blood pressure and previous research has shown conflicting results regarding its functions in arterial muscle cells."

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The targeting of PKD2 in mice was found to lower blood pressure than normal mice. "Our results indicate that stimuli which activate PKD2 channels are blood vessel specific, showing that there is not a singular mechanism regulating muscle cell contractility in all arteries," concludes Jaggar. "Our demonstration that muscle cell PKD2 channels regulate blood pressure is a step forward to better understanding the importance of this ion channel target in normal cardiovascular physiology, and as a potential drug target for cardiovascular disease."

Source: eLife


About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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