Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study indicates that a common virus could cause high blood pressure

18.05.2009
A new study suggests for the first time that cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common viral infection affecting between 60 and 99 percent of adults worldwide, is a cause of high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

Led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and published in the May 15, 2009 issue of PLoS Pathogens, the findings further demonstrate that, when coupled with other risk factors for heart disease, the virus can lead to the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

"CMV infects humans all over the world," explains co-senior author Clyde Crumpacker, MD, an investigator in the Division of Infectious Diseases at BIDMC and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "This new discovery may eventually provide doctors with a whole new approach to treating hypertension, with anti-viral therapies or vaccines becoming part of the prescription."

A member of the herpes virus family, CMV affects all age groups and is the source of congenital infection, mononucleosis, and severe infection in transplant patients. By the age of 40, most adults will have contracted the virus, though many will never exhibit symptoms. Once it has entered the body, CMV is usually there to stay, remaining latent until the immune system is compromised, when it then reemerges.

Previous epidemiological studies had determined that the CMV virus was linked to restenosis in cardiac transplant patients, a situation in which the heart's arteries "reblock." The virus had also been linked to the development of atherosclerosis, the hardening of the heart's arteries. But, in both cases, the mechanism behind these developments remained a mystery. This new study brought together a team of researchers from a variety of disciplines ¡V infectious diseases, cardiology, allergy and pathology ¡V to look more closely at the issue.

"By combining the insights of investigators from different medical disciplines, we were able to measure effects of a viral infection that may have been previously overlooked," explains Crumpacker.

In the first portion of the study, the scientists examined four groups of laboratory mice. Two groups of animals were fed a standard diet and two groups were fed a high cholesterol diet. After a period of four weeks, one standard diet mouse group and one high-cholesterol diet mouse group were infected with the CMV virus.

Six weeks later, the animals' blood pressures were measured by the cardiology team using a small catheter inserted in the mouse carotid artery. Among the mice fed a standard diet, the CMV-infected mice had increased blood pressure compared with the uninfected group. But even more dramatically, 30 percent of the CMV-infected mice that were fed a high-cholesterol diet not only exhibited increased blood pressure, but also showed signs of having developed atherosclerosis.

"This strongly suggests that the CMV infection and the high-cholesterol diet might be working together to cause atherosclerosis," says Crumpacker. In order to find out how and why this was occurring, the investigators went on to conduct a series of cell culture experiments.

Their first analysis demonstrated that CMV stimulated production of three different inflammatory cytokines ¡V IL6, TNF„f, and MCP1 ¡V in the infected mice, an indication that the virus was causing inflammation to vascular cells and other tissues.

A second analysis found that infection of a mouse kidney cell line with murine CMV led to an increase in expression of the renin enzyme, which has been known to activate the renin-angiotensin system and lead to high blood pressure. Clinical isolates of human CMV in cultured blood vessel cells also produced increased renin expression.

"Viruses have the ability to turn on human genes and, in this case, the CMV virus is enhancing expression of renin, an enzyme directly involved in causing high blood pressure," says Crumpacker. When the scientists inactivated the virus through the use of ultraviolet light, renin expression did not increase, suggesting that actively replicating virus was causing the increase in renin.

In their final experiments, the researchers demonstrated that the protein angiotensin 11 was also increased in response to infection with CMV. "Increased expression of both renin and angiotensin 11 are important factors in hypertension in humans," says Crumpacker. "What our study seems to indicate is that a persistent viral infection in the vessels' endothelial cells is leading to increased expression of inflammatory cytokines, renin and angiotensin 11, which are leading to increased blood pressure."

According to recent figures from the American Heart Association, one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and because there are no known symptoms, nearly one-third of these individuals are unaware of their condition. Often dubbed "the silent killer," uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure, notes Crumpacker.

"We found that CMV infection alone led to an increase in high blood pressure, and when combined with a high-cholesterol diet, the infection actually induced atherosclerosis in a mouse aorta," says Crumpacker. "This suggests that further research needs to be directed at viral causes of vascular injury. Some cases of hypertension might be treated or prevented by antiviral therapy or a vaccine against CMV."

This study was funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Study co-authors include Jielin Zhang of BIDMC's Division of Infectious Diseases (co-senior author); Jilin Cheng formerly of BIDMC's Division of Infectious Diseases and now at Fudan University, Shanghai, China (first author); Qingen Ke of BIDMC's Division of Cardiology; Zhuang Jin and Haiban Wang of BIDMC's Division of Allergy; Olivier Kocher of BIDMC's Division of Pathology; and James Morgan of Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Boston.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks in the top four in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Institute. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

Bonnie Prescott | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bidmc.harvard.edu
http://www.bidmc.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>