Treatment for low blood pressure and renal salt wasting disorders will now be possible, thanks to researchers who have managed to identify first small molecule, called S3969, which can reversibly activate a key protein involved in balancing sodium levels.
Sodium flow across many tissues such as the lungs, kidneys, and colon is controlled by the human epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), which plays a key role in maintaining proper salt balance and blood pressure.
However, no one has yet found effective ENaC activators, despite the availability of drugs to block over-active sodium channels, which can help treat hypertension and other disorders.
However, with S3969, sodium flow through normal ENaC could increase in both amphibian and human cells, while restoring function to deficient ENaC.
The researchers have suggested that the sustained yet reversible action of S3969 can make it a good model to build future drugs aimed at improving hypotension, neonatal pulmonary edema (reduced sodium uptake in the lungs can lead to fluid retention), and renal salt wasting disorders.