A potential therapeutic target that researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified may prove handy in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
In the study conducted using mouse model, the team discovered that mice lacking the receptor for one type of prostaglandin, a family of fatty compounds key to the cardiovascular system, have lower blood pressure and less atherosclerosis.
The normal role for the PGF2a prostaglandin is to increase blood pressure and accelerate atherosclerosis, at least in rodents, and suggest that targeting this pathway could represent a novel therapeutic approach to cardiovascular disease.
"Blocking this prostaglandin receptor may provide a strategy for controlling blood pressure and its attendant vascular disease," said senior author Dr Garret A. FitzGerald, Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at Penn.
The delicate balance the body maintains to keep blood pressure stable involves not only the prostaglandin system, but another biological pathway, the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS.
The study showed that under a variety of circumstances deletion of the PGF2a receptor lowered blood pressure coincident with suppression of RAAS activity.
"The picture is emerging that PGF2a controls blood pressure by a mechanism unique among the prostaglandins," said FitzGerald.
The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.