A compound called alagebrium, which is very similar to another used in anti-wrinkle creams, may be useful in reducing the deleterious effects of arterial aging in the majority of elderly Americans with systolic hypertension, a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins shows.
Systolic hypertension refers to higher than normal levels of the "upper" number in a blood pressure reading, or with a lower than normal "bottom" number, in this case a pressure of 140 millimeters of mercury or greater and/or a diastolic pressure of less than 90 millimeters of mercury. Hypertension of this sort indicates stiffening of the body's arteries.
"This is the first demonstration that this class of drugs, known as collagen-crosslink breakers, can turn back the clock and make old arteries behave like young ones," says senior study investigator and geriatric cardiologist Susan Zieman, M.D., an assistant professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute. "There are many medications for routine hypertension, and coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack and heart failure, but none that help counteract the aging of cells inside the arterial walls that often precedes symptoms of disease."
According to the American Heart Association, more than 65 million Americans have high blood pressure, most of it of the systolic kind. In systolic hypertension, the pressure or force of blood flow through the arteries is too strong as blood is pumped by the heart's ventricles (systole) to the rest of the body. Diastolic pressure, on the other hand, is a measure of the pressure against arterial walls when the heart is resting and refilling between beats.
The Hopkins researchers found that alagebrium, formally known as ALT-711 or 4,5-dimethyl-3-(2-oxo-2-phenylethyl)-thiazolium chloride, reduced stiffening in the vessel wall in the m
Contact: David March
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions