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Two-part blood pressure control suggests new approach to hypertension therapy

Durham, N.C. The kidneys have long been known to play a major role in many cases of high blood pressure, but a new study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center reveals that the body's control of blood pressure depends as much on other organs in the body. The researchers said the findings about a "two-part system" may lead to improved methods for treating high blood pressure, which affects nearly one in three American adults.

The findings further suggest how the underlying causes of high blood pressure may vary among patients, with some cases resulting from kidney abnormalities and others from abnormalities in other areas, such as the blood vessels, researchers said. Such differences might lead to variability in the response of patients to particular treatment regimens. For example, it might explain why reductions in dietary salt effectively lower blood pressure for some people, but not others, they said.

Through a series of kidney transplantation experiments involving both normal mice and mice in which a critical molecular component of blood pressure regulation had been rendered nonfunctional, the researchers found clear evidence that the kidneys and other systemic tissues have distinct and equally important roles in controlling blood pressure. The researchers report their findings in the April 1, 2005, issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The findings provide new insights into how the kidney interacts with other organs to control blood pressure, said the researchers. These insights may augment scientists' understanding of how common blood pressure medications work and lead to improved treatments for hypertension and its complications, including stroke and organ failure, they added.

"Our study provides the first direct evidence that the job of blood pressure regulation is split into two parts that controlled by the kidneys and that controlled by other systems throughout the body," said Thomas Coffman, M.D
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Contact: Kendall Morgan
kendall.morgan@duke.edu
919-660-1306
Duke University Medical Center
1-Apr-2005


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