Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Target for Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure Discovered by Penn Scientists

28.04.2009
In trying to understand the role of prostaglandins – a family of fatty compounds key to the cardiovascular system – in blood pressure maintenance, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and colleagues discovered that mice that lack the receptor for one type of prostaglandin have lower blood pressure and less atherosclerosis than their non-mutant brethren.

The results indicate that the normal role for the type of prostaglandin studied, PGF2á, is to increase blood pressure and accelerate atherosclerosis, at least in rodents, and suggest that targeting this pathway could represent a novel therapeutic approach to cardiovascular disease.

The results appeared this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Blocking this prostaglandin receptor may provide a strategy for controlling blood pressure and its attendant vascular disease,” notes senior author Garret A. FitzGerald, MD, Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at Penn.

To address prostaglandins’ role in maintaining blood pressure, FitzGerald and his team, including researchers from the University of Southern Denmark, created strains of mice in which both the maternal and paternal copies of the gene for the PGF2á receptor were deleted. They did this in mice with a normal genetic background and in ones that contained an additional mutation in the low-density lipoprotein receptor gene. These manipulations effectively rendered the mice unable to respond to the prostaglandins.

The delicate balance the body maintains to keep blood pressure stable involves not only the prostaglandin system, but another biological pathway, the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. Under conditions of low blood pressure, the liver secretes a protein called angiotensiogen. Renin, an enzyme produced by the kidneys, cleaves angiotensiogen into a peptide called angiotensin I. Angiotensin I is cleaved again to form angiotensin II, which stimulates blood vessels to narrow, thereby increasing blood pressure. At the same time, angiotensin II induces the release of the hormone aldosterone, which further elevates blood pressure by promoting retention of water and sodium in the kidneys.

Many conventional therapies for high blood pressure target components of the RAAS pathway. For instance, ACE inhibitors such as captopril (Capoten) target the formation of angiotensin II, while aliskiren (Tekturna) targets renin.

The team assessed the impact of the PGF2á receptor mutations on both blood pressure and RAAS activity. They found that under a variety of circumstances deletion of the PGF2á receptor lowered blood pressure coincident with suppression of RAAS activity.

“Precisely how these two observations are connected is the focus of our current research,” says FitzGerald.

Blood pressure was reduced in both types of genetically engineered mice relative to control littermates. The RAAS molecules renin, angiotensin I, and aldosterone were also reduced, a biological situation leading to lower blood pressure.

The team found that the PGF2á receptor is expressed in the smooth muscle surrounding arteries in the kidneys. However, it was absent in the muscle surrounding the aorta, in the atherosclerotic lesions of mice with their PGF2á receptors knocked out, as well as in the macrophages that inhabit those lesions. Importantly, these atherosclerotic lesions were smaller and less abundant in mice that had both the low-density lipoprotein and PGF2á receptors knocked out, as was macrophage infiltration and inflammatory cytokine production, both of which are indicators of the inflammatory response that marks these plaques.

Prostaglandins are produced during the oxidation of certain cell molecules by cyclooxygenases, the COX enzymes targeted by COX inhibitors, but how remains unclear. FitzGerald’s group had previously shown that blockading cyclooxygenase 1 and its major prostaglandin product, thromboxane, also lowers blood pressure, slowing atherosclerosis, but in this previous study, the relevant genes are present in the aorta and its atherosclerotic lesions. PGF2á, by contrast, acts via the kidney and represents a distinct therapeutic opportunity.

“The picture is emerging that PGF2á controls blood pressure by a mechanism unique among the prostaglandins,” says FitzGerald. “Besides the case of thromboxane, two other types of prostaglandins, PGI2 and PGE2, stimulate renin secretion, which is part of the RAAS pathway.”

Assuming these findings can be translated to humans, targeting the PGF2á pathway could represent a novel opportunity for therapeutic control of blood pressure in cardiovascular patients.

The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association.

PENN Medicine is a $3.6 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is currently ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's survey of top research-oriented medical schools; and, according to the National Institutes of Health, received over $366 million in NIH grants (excluding contracts) in the 2008 fiscal year. Supporting 1,700 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) includes its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, rated one of the nation’s top ten “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. In addition UPHS includes a primary-care provider network; a faculty practice plan; home care, hospice, and nursing home; three multispecialty satellite facilities; as well as the Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse campus, which offers comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation facilities and outpatient services in multiple specialties.

Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

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...

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

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>