A new finding by a group of Australian researchers could provide a major breakthrough in treating high blood pressure and could save millions of lives every year.
Researchers from Sydney University found that an enzyme known as renin played a vital role in triggering high blood pressure. Lead researcher Professor Brian Morris started studying the importance of renin back in 1970s but was unable to find out how the enzyme increased the risk of high blood pressure.
A PhD student, Francine Marques, working under the supervision of Professor Morris finally managed to identify how the enzyme worked by studying human kidneys. The researchers found that in people who had high blood pressure, renin was six times more active while two microRNAs associated with the enzyme were six times less active.
Professor Morris hopes that the new finding will help others to develop more targeted drugs that will maintain the levels of these two microRNAs and thus keep levels of renin under control. "That is the key. These two micro-RNAs are very much lower in hypertensive people. So if you lose those, the renin goes up, thus raising blood pressure. This is a totally new concept, tremendously exciting. No one has ever found anything like this to do with rennin", he said.