Novel compounds that could be the key to controlling hypertension have been discovered by scientists.
The scientists from University of California, San Diego studied the properties of the peptide called catestatin that binds nicotinic acetylcholine receptors found in the nervous system, and developed a pharmacophore model of its active centers.
They next screened a library of compounds for molecules that might match this 3D "fingerprint". The scientists then took their in-silico findings and applied them to lab experiments, uncovering compounds that successfully lowered hypertension.
"This approach demonstrates the effectiveness of rational design of novel drug candidates," lead author Igor F. Tsigelny, a research scientist with the university's San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), as well as the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and the Department of Neurosciences, said.
"Our results suggest that analogs can be designed to match the action of catestatin, which the body uses to regulate blood pressure," Daniel T. O'Connor, a professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and senior author of the study, said.
"Those designer analogs could ultimately be used for treatment of hypertension or autonomic dysfunction," he added.
The research may lead to a new class of treatments for hypertension, a disease which affects about 76 million people, or about one in three adults, in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.
Untreated, it damages the blood vessels and is a leading risk factor for kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke.
The study is published online month in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry.