Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

CWRU scientists reveal how magnesium works on ion channels important for regulating blood pressure

23.08.2002


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."


The Nature article ("Mechanism of magnesium activation of calcium activated potassium channels") was written by Jianmin Cui, the principal researcher, who was assisted by Jingyi Shi, senior researcher in the department of biomedical engineering; Gayathri Krishnamoorty and Lei Hu, graduate students in the department of biomedical engineering; and Neha Chaturvedi and Dina Harilal, undergraduates students. The team is collaborating with Yanwu Yang and Jun Qin, structural biologists at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. The research is supported by a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

"The completion of stage one of the project is due to the combination of state-of-the-art bioelectric facilities and advanced structural biology results," Cui said. "The collaboration between the department of biomedical engineering and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation was key."

CWRU researchers used cloned ion channel DNA to express the ion channels in frog eggs. The ion channels are proteins made of various amino acids; the researchers mutated some of these amino acids and recorded functional change that resulted from the mutations.

Hypertension, Cui explained, results from the contraction of blood vessels, which causes an increase in blood pressure. "The diameter of blood vessels is controlled by smooth muscle cells around them," he said. "When magnesium reaches these potassium channels, the channels open causing blood vessels to dilate and therefore reduce hypertension."

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1988 and 1994 by The National High Blood Pressure Education Program, an estimated 42.3 million people in the U.S had hypertension. Doctors had told an additional 7.7 million on two or more occasions that they had hypertension, which gives a total of 50 million hypertensives.

"Our research is basic science, however, we hope that the results can help to explain why some treatments would work and provide rationale for development of new drugs for hypertension," Cui said.

Marci E. Hersh | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>