Elderly are more likely to suffer from hypertension and heart disease. But, they do not respond to current therapies to reduce blood pressure and the factors that drive age-related hypertension are poorly understood.
In this issue of JCI Insight, researchers led by Iris Jaffe of Tufts Medical Center provide evidence that age-related reductions of a microRNA (miR-155) underlie age-associated hypertension.
Mice that lack mineralocorticoid receptors in smooth muscle cells, which regulate blood pressure, are protected from developing high blood pressure as they age.
Moreover, restoration of miR-155 in aged wild-type mice improved blood pressure parameters. Importantly, in a small cohort of healthy older adults treated with a mineralocorticoid receptor inhibitor, reduced levels of miR-155 were associated with beneficial changes in blood pressure.
Together, these results indicate that miR-155 should be further explored as a biomarker and therapeutic target for age-related hypertension.