Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Enzyme affects hypertension by controlling salt levels in body

07.07.2005


An enzyme known to cause hypertension increases blood pressure by activating tiny pores, or channels, in kidney cells that allow increased levels of sodium to be reabsorbed into the blood, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The findings shed light on the underlying mechanisms that cause hypertension, and may also help explain why patients with hypertension linked to salt intake often need to take potassium supplements in order to keep their high blood pressure in check.



The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "This is a classic example of how basic research could lead to better understanding of human diseases and potentially to new therapeutic methods," said Dr. Bing-E Xu, assistant professor of pharmacology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study.

The enzyme WNK1 is known to cause a form of hypertension, abbreviated PHA II, but until now the method by which it affected blood pressure was unclear. By studying animal and human cells in culture, UT Southwestern researchers determined that WNK1 interacts with and activates another enzyme, SGK1, which is well known to lead to the activation of sodium ion channels in kidney cells.


"The kidney plays a very important role in controlling blood pressure by controlling how much sodium gets reabsorbed back into the kidney and the blood," said Dr. Chou-Long Huang, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and co-senior author of the study. "Sodium comes into the kidney cell through these channels and is then returned to blood circulation through another sodium transporter," he said. "The sodium channel critically governs how much sodium gets reabsorbed."

Normally, the kidney filters and reabsorbs about 99 percent of sodium from the blood and returns it to the body, excreting 1 percent through urine, said Dr. Huang, a nephrologist.

However, if salt ingestion remains the same and the kidneys reabsorb 99.9 percent of salt, too much salt returns to the blood, increasing blood volume and leading to hypertension. If less than 99 percent is absorbed, low blood pressure develops.

Dr. Huang said that not everyone who eats too much salt ends up with hypertension, but some population groups, such as African-Americans, are more prone to develop salt-sensitive high blood pressure, suggesting that genetic factors may play a role in the disease.

One extension of the current work may lead to a better understanding of hypertension that is induced by low potassium intake. Previous studies have shown that diuretics, a class of drugs commonly used to control hypertension, also cause potassium wasting, or low potassium levels, in patients.

"Studies have shown that if you are taking diuretics and let your potassium level fall, the diuretics are not as effective," Dr. Huang said. "But if you take diuretics and you supplement with potassium, you can lower blood pressure more effectively." Dr. Huang and his research group currently are conducting studies to determine whether low potassium intake increases WNK1 activity, leading to hypertension.

The WNK1 enzyme was first identified and cloned in 2000 by UT Southwestern researchers led by Dr. Melanie Cobb, co-senior author on the PNAS paper and dean of UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. After cloning the enzyme, Dr. Cobb’s research group examined what proteins might be regulated by WNK1, and found that SGK1 was one of those proteins. Because he works on ion channels, including sodium channels, Dr. Huang joined efforts with Dr. Cobb to study how WNK1 regulates sodium channels.

"We have been working on WNK1 for several years now and these findings are unexpected from initial studies," said Dr. Cobb. "What is particularly satisfying and exciting is the ease with which we could establish such a collaboration at UT Southwestern to study the physiological and medical implications of our findings."

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Steve Stippec, pharmacology research associate; Dr. Ahmed Lazrak, instructor of internal medicine; Dr. Xin-Ji Li, research associate in internal medicine; Dr. Byung-Hoon Lee, postdoctoral researcher in pharmacology; and Dr. Bernardo Ortega, postdoctoral researcher in internal medicine. Former postdoctoral researchers Dr. Po-Yin Chu and Dr. Jessie M. English also contributed.

Amanda Siegfried | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>