Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Advance in understanding of blood pressure gene could lead to new treatments

05.02.2007
Advance in understanding of blood pressure gene could lead to new treatments

Research by scientists at UCL (University College London) has clearly demonstrated for the first time the structure and function of a gene crucial to the regulation of blood pressure. The discovery could be important in the search for new treatments for illnesses such as heart disease, the UK’s biggest killer.

In a paper published online today in Nature Medicine, the team, led by Professor Patrick Vallance and Dr James Leiper, UCL Department of Medicine, reveal the role of the human gene dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH), showing that loss of DDAH activity disrupts nitric oxide (NO) production. NO is critical in the regulation of blood pressure, nervous system functions and the immune system.

The role of DDAH is to break down modified amino acids (Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) and monomethyl arginine (L-NMMA)) that are produced by the body and have been shown to inhibit NO synthase. These molecules accumulate in various disease states including diabetes, renal failure and pulmonary and systemic hypertension, and their concentration in plasma (the fluid component of blood) is strongly predicative of cardiovascular disease and death.

... more about:
»ADMA »DDAH »blood pressure »blood vessel

In a healthy human body, the majority of ADMA is eliminated through active metabolism by DDAH. Scientists have hypothesised that if DDAH function is impaired, NO production is reduced, and that this could be an important feature of increased cardiovascular risk.

To examine this pathway in more detail, the researchers deleted the DDAH gene in mice. These mice went on to develop hypertension, or high blood pressure. They also designed specific inhibitors (small molecules) which bind to the active site of human DDAH. These small molecule inhibitors also induced hypertension in mice, confirming the importance of DDAH in the regulation of blood pressure.

Dr Leiper, UCL Medicine, said: “These genetic and chemical approaches to disrupt DDAH showed remarkably consistent results, and provide compelling evidence that loss of DDAH function increases the concentration of ADMA and thereby disrupts vascular NO signalling.

“There has been considerable scientific interest in this pathway and the role of ADMA as a novel risk factor, but so far there’s been little evidence to support the idea that it’s a cause of disease, rather than just a marker. Genes and their pathways are crucial to our understanding of cardiovascular disease and a better understanding of DDAH-1 could lead to important new treatments.

“It could help us to establish if genetic variation predisposes certain people to these diseases, or whether environmental factors exert some of their effects through modulation of DDAH activity.

“Our research also shows that this pathway could be harnessed therapeutically to limit production of NO in certain situations where too much nitric oxide is a bad thing; for example, hypotension and septic shock. These are some of the biggest problems in intensive care medicine and there is a huge unmet need for drug treatments.”

The study, which was carried out at UCL’s Rayne Institute, was funded by grants from the British Heart Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, said:

"The unexpected finding in the 1980s that a simple gas, nitric oxide (NO), is made by cells in the blood vessel wall and is a powerful control of blood vessel relaxation led to the award of the Nobel Prize in 1998 to its discoverers.

"More recently, there has been increasing evidence that impairment of NO production is likely to be an important factor in the development of heart and circulatory disease, but the mechanisms responsible are not fully understood.

"This study suggests for the first time that the loss of the activity of the enzyme DDAH-1 leads to reduced NO production and may cause heart and circulatory disease. These findings are likely to be important in the search for new ways to optimise the health of our blood vessels."

Dominique Fourniol | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk

Further reports about: ADMA DDAH blood pressure blood vessel

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>