A brain protein is linked to rise in blood pressure, according to a study that scientists say could lead to new ways of treating the condition.
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force applied to the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. It is thought to be leading to problems relating to the heart, kidneys or blood vessels.
Scientists at Bristol University, England, isolated a protein, JAM-1, located in the walls of blood vessels in the brain.
In studies done on rats by Professor Julian Paton and colleagues it was seen that JAM-1 is linked to increased blood pressure. However, they said the exact mechanisms behind this are still unclear.
JAM-1 appeared to trap white blood cells (cells which form a component of the blood) obstructing blood flow. According to the scientists, this can cause inflammation and result in poor oxygen supply to the brain, reported the online edition of BBC News.
The future challenge will be to understand the type of inflammation within the vessels in the brain, the researchers said in the latest issue of journal Hypertension.
The scientists are now looking at the human brain to understand more.
"This exciting study is important because it suggests there are unexpected causes of high blood pressure related to blood supply to the brain," said Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the work.
"It therefore opens up the possibility of new ways to treat this common, but often poorly managed, condition," he said.