Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Brain hypertension role identified

(Hypertension 2007; Advance online publication)

17 April 2007MedWire News: Inflammation in the brain may play a role in hypertension, scientists report.

They found that a protein, called junctional adhesion molecule (JAM)-1, was elevated in the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) of rats with hypertension. Furthermore, engineering normal rats to express high levels of JAM-1 in this region of the brain led to increases in their blood pressure. JAM-1 is known to be involved in leukocyte and platelet adhesion in peripheral circulation.

The authors say that hypertension may therefore develop as a result of inflammatory cytokines activating the sympathetic nervous system. If proven, this could lead to novel approaches to treating hypertension.

Julian Paton (University of Bristol, UK) and colleagues studied JAM-1 expression in rats, having already found it was upregulated in prehypertensive animals. They found significantly higher levels of JAM-1 messenger RNA in the NTS of spontaneous hypertensive (SH) rats compared with normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. The NTS plays a pivotal role in arterial pressure regulation, the team notes. Adenoviral-mediated expression of JAM-1 in the NTS of WKY rats led to a significant increase in systolic blood pressure, from 120 mmHg to 132 mmHg (p<0.01). color="#000099">

Associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, Jeremy Pearson, said: "This exciting study is important because it suggests there are unexpected causes of high blood pressure related to blood supply to the brain. It therefore opens up the possibility of new ways to treat this common, but often poorly managed, condition."

Hypertension 2007; Advance online publication

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