Newly Discovered Treatment Target Control Result in Better Blood Pressure Control

Newly Discovered Treatment Target Control Result in Better Blood Pressure Control

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Highlights:
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition globally and associated with risk of heart attacks and stroke.
  • Currently available drugs are not always effective in controlling blood pressure and associated complications.
  • New research identifies nitric oxide released by nerves has a role in reducing blood pressure.
  • 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 London.
Newly Discovered Treatment Target Control Result in Better Blood Pressure Control

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 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 subjects.

While they expected a small alteration in the blood pressure, they were quite surprised when 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 pathways. 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 therapeutic targets that offer hope to such persons in keeping their blood pressure under check more effectively and preventing complications.

Nitric Oxide

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 system
  • Certain activities of the nervous system
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.

Reference:
  1. Quiz on Antihypertensive Drugs (Advance) - (http://www.medindia.net/medical-quiz/quiz-on-antihypertensive-drugs.asp)


Source: Medindia

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