Researchers at Case Western Reserve University report in the August 22 issue of Nature how magnesium activates microscopic ion channels in the membrane of a cell. These particular ion channels are important in controlling blood pressure. Scientists, the researchers say, can use this new finding in the quest to understand how magnesium helps to decrease blood pressure and also treat heart failure and stroke.
Calcium activated potassium channels are important microscopic pathways in the cell membrane that relax the smooth muscle in a blood vessel, according to the researchers. They also modify electrical impulses, which travel in nerve cells throughout the brain.
"Research of this kind may help to understand why some therapies such as magnesium supplements are important in the prevention and management of hypertension or heart failure," said Jianmin Cui, the lead researcher and assistant professor in the department of biomedical engineering at CWRU. "Along with some other groups, we have discovered that when magnesium is applied to calcium-activated potassium channels, these channels will open. We know from literature that the opening of these channels can reduce blood pressure."
Marci E. Hersh | EurekAlert!
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