Cardiovascular expert helps to understand the genetics of high blood pressure

Posted by fi17 at Nov 15, 2011 11:37 AM |
University involved in breakthrough study that analysed genes in the kidneys
Cardiovascular expert helps to understand the genetics of high blood pressure

Microscopic photo of the cortex of the kidney (Image:Wikimedia commons)

A researcher from our Department of Cardiovascular Sciences has been involved in a ground-breaking study into the causes of high blood pressure. 

Published in the academic journal Hypertension, the study analysed genetic material in human kidneys in a search for genes that might contribute to high blood pressure. It identified key genes, messenger RNAs and micro RNAs present in the kidneys that may contribute to human hypertension and also uncovered two microRNAs that contribute to the regulation of renin – a hormone long thought to play a part in controlling blood pressure.

Co-author of the study, Dr Maciej Tomaszewski, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Cardiovascular Medicine and a Consultant Physician in Leicester Blood Pressure Clinic - European Centre of Excellence, is very excited about this publication. 

Although scientists have long known that the kidneys play a role in regulating blood pressure, this is the first time that key genes involved in the process have been identified through a large, comprehensive gene expression analysis of the human kidneys. It is also the first time that researchers have identified microRNAs that control the expression of the hormone renin.

This increased understanding of the mechanisms underlying hypertension could lead to innovative new treatments for high blood pressure.