- High blood pressure (hypertension)
is a common condition globally and associated with risk of heart attacks
- Currently available drugs are not
always effective in controlling blood pressure and associated
- New research identifies nitric oxide
released by nerves has a role in reducing blood
- Discovery opens up newer and
effective treatment options for hypertension.
Nitric oxide a gas released by nerves
found to have a significant influence in regulation of blood pressure according
to a world first research in humans conducted by scientists at King's College
Reason for the Study
The authors felt that currently used
anti-hypertensive medications are often not effective in controlling blood
pressure or preventing its complications such as Heart Attack
‘Discovery of new neuronal nitric oxide mechanism for blood pressure regulation could potentially result in more effective therapy of hypertensive patients and prevention of heart attacks and stroke.’
Their work was based on previous research
which has established the important role that nitric
oxide a vasodilator plays in controlling blood pressure and based their study
on assessing its potential use to control hypertension.
Methods and Findings of the Study
The research team administered a drug to healthy human volunteers that prevented an
enzyme in nerves from forming nitric oxide
. Once the neuronal enzyme
stopped producing nitric oxide, the team measured the effect on the human
While they expected a small alteration in
the blood pressure, they were quite
the administration of the drug led to a marked increase in the resistance to
blood flow in the blood vessels and thereby the blood pressure
Professor Ajay Shah, BHF Chair of
Cardiology at King's College Hospital and lead scientist on the trial at King's
College London said: "We used an inhibitor drug to stop an enzyme in the
nerves from producing nitric oxide. While we suspected that stopping this
enzyme would have some effect, we were surprised at how much influence it has
on blood pressure.
"Our discovery will fundamentally
change the way we view the regulation of blood pressure. Until now the majority of blood pressure drugs have focussed on other
. Establishing that nerves releasing nitric oxide influence blood
pressure, provides a new target for drugs and could eventually lead to more
effective treatments for patients."
The scientists believe that many persons
suffer from High Blood Pressure
that is poorly controlled and
that their discovery will open up new
that offer hope to such persons in keeping their blood
pressure under check more effectively and preventing complications.
Nitric oxide shot into prominence about
20 years ago when a group of pharmacologists discovered its role as a signaling
molecule in the cardiovascular system. Their work won them the Nobel Prize in
Medicine in 1998. Further studies have established the role of nitric oxide in
- Controlling blood pressure
- Proper functioning of the immune
- Certain activities of the nervous
Nitric oxide is a vasodilator which
causes relaxation of blood vessels and improves blood flow and oxygen transport
to vital organs.
Professor Phil Chowienczyk, Professor of
Clinical Pharmacology at King's College London and co-lead on the trial said:
"This link between release of nitric oxide from nerves and blood pressure
is fascinating because it provides new insight into how blood pressure is
controlled by the brain and into how mental health might affect blood pressure."
In conclusion though more studies may be
needed to establish the NO pathway as an acceptable and effective treatment
target in hypertension in the clinical setting, the authors have paved the way
for future research programs along this revolutionary road.
- Quiz on Antihypertensive Drugs (Advance)