Navigation Links
Genes That Control Body's Salt Levels Are Identified
Date:2/16/2009

Whether finding will lead to treatment improvements remains unclear

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The largest study of the effects of genetics on blood pressure in humans has linked variant versions of genes that control levels of salt in the body with high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

"There have been hundreds of genes and gene variants reported to be related to blood pressure," said Dr. Christopher Newton-Cheh, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Human Genetic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of a report in Nature Genetics. "What distinguishes this study is the ability to genotype 30,000 people to establish a relationship that these gene variants cause higher levels of natriuretic peptides and therefore are related to blood pressure." Natriuretic peptides are compounds that help the body get rid of salt.

It's not yet clear that the finding will be of use in medical practice, Newton-Cheh said. Drugs aimed at the genes might be no more effective at keeping high blood pressure under control than existing medications, such as diuretics, he said. But the study does offer valuable insight into a basic physiological cause of high blood pressure.

The researchers looked at variants of two genes for these peptides -- atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP). They found three variants clearly related to higher levels of the peptides and, therefore, to lower blood pressure. Higher peptide levels lead to lower blood pressure because "these are molecules designed to let the body get rid of salt and relax blood vessels," Newton-Cheh explained.

"What's exciting about this study is that it proves that in human beings, natriuretic peptides are important in blood pressure," he said. "Until now, the finding has been limited to animals -- that if you take away the ANP gene in mice, you get hypertension [high blood pressure]."

The medical implication of the study is that "there are people out there who do not have enough natriuretic peptide, and they can be targeted to increase those peptides," Newton-Cheh said.

But that may be easier said than done, he added. For one thing, genetics might not be the only reason why people have low peptide levels. Other factors, such as obesity, might be involved.

And natriuretic peptides are essentially simple proteins that are quickly broken down once they enter the body. It might be possible to make a peptide-targeted drug that would be kept active by tying it to another molecule, but that remains to be seen, Newton-Cheh said.

Also, existing blood pressure medications work quite well if taken as prescribed, so the value of proposed newer drugs is not clear, he said.

Dr. John C. Burnett, professor of cardiovascular research at the Mayo Clinic, said that such drugs could be valuable because of the central role of the natriuretic peptides in controlling blood pressure.

"What we are doing at Mayo is developing what you might call designer peptides," Burnett said. "We change the amino acid sequence so that the body's usual system of getting rid of these peptides is diminished. We are engineering the body's own peptides to create super peptides."

The U.S Food and Drug Administration has approved a human trial of the first of those molecules, one aimed at heart failure, Burnett said. There is a parallel effort to develop molecules that would help control blood pressure.

The current generation of experimental peptides must be given in the same way as insulin, by injection under the skin, "but our plan is to modify these peptides so they can be given orally," he said. "That would be a massive breakthrough."

Another gene variant that might make people more likely to develop hypertension was reported in December by University of Maryland researchers. Their discovery was of a mutation that seems to reduce blood levels of fats called triglycerides and thus lower the risk of heart disease.

First identified in an Amish community in Pennsylvania, the gene variant is present in about one of every five white Americans, according to their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on lowering blood pressure.



SOURCES: Christopher Newton-Cheh, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; John C. Burnett, M.D., professor of cardiovascular research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Feb. 15, 2009, online Nature Genetics


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Empathy Might Be in the Genes
2. Genes Help Cancer-Linked Viruses Elude Immune System
3. 2 Genes Implicated in Autism
4. Genesis Successfully Defends Multi-Million Dollar Arbitration Filed by CRG and CRGP; Related Parties Withdraw Remaining Demands for Arbitration Against Genesis
5. Genesis Pharmaceuticals Successfully Defends Itself in a Multi-Million Dollar Arbitration, Two Other Arbitration Proceedings Against Genesis are Withdrawn
6. New genes involved in acute lymphoblastic leukemia play fundamental role in prognosis of the disease
7. Angiogenesis linked to poor survival in patients with rare type of ovarian cancer
8. Penn study finds link between Parkinsons disease genes and manganese poisoning
9. Genesis Pharmaceuticals Enters Into Agreement to Purchase Hongrui Pharmaceuticals, and Acquire 22 New Traditional Chinese Medicines
10. Cardiogenesis Announces Successful Educational Symposium at Society of Thoracic Surgeons Meeting in San Francisco
11. In Kids, Genes May Affect Leukemia Treatment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Genes That Control Body's Salt Levels Are Identified
(Date:5/27/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... A May 8 ... a doctor for colds or respiratory issues that are not responsive to antibiotics nevertheless ... on doctors may be largely responsible for the problem both in Canada and the ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... Mediaplanet is proud to ... campaign in USA Today, which will educate readers on how to take care of ... a large focus is placed on melanoma. Dancing with the Stars professional, Witney Carson, ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... ... the integration of the CareFusion NOX-T3 portable sleep monitor with its Somnoware Sleep ... a consistent, browser-based interface for diagnostic device operations. With this platform, initializing devices ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... After raising ... Antzy Top gadget will continue to be available at a discounted crowdfunding price on ... with stress wherever they are, I also wanted to bring a fidget toy to ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... “When the Stars Lead Home”: a poignant ... of published author Laura Weigel Douglas, an avid reader who lives in the Pacific ... sometimes feels like Green Hills Adventure Camp. She couldn’t be more grateful. , Twelve-year ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2017)... WAYNE, Pa. , May 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... made from thermoplastics and other highly-engineered materials, is ... Microextrusion tubing has been developed in recent ... neurovascular interventional therapies and surgical applications. More expensive ... used to produce microextrusion tubing due to their ...
(Date:5/3/2017)... Calif. , May 3, 2017 ... of any hospital or healthcare facility. Commonly referred ... room is equipped with diagnostic imaging technology to ... of the heart. In these spaces, a team ... catheterization, balloon angioplasty, percutaneous coronary intervention, congenital heart ...
(Date:5/3/2017)... N.J. , May 3, 2017  Getinge, ... that contribute to quality enhancement and cost efficiency ... from a study of contemporary practice demonstrating that ... first-line therapy for critically ill patients. The single-center, ... Company,s newer large volume MEGA ® 50cc ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: