Protein in blood pressure regulation identified by UK researchers

Researchers have identified a protein located in the walls of the blood vessels that plays a key role in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Researchers say that this new discovery could lead to new treatments for people with elevated blood pressure. The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF), shows that malfunction of the protein a potassium channel called Kv7.4 contributes to the maintenance of high blood pressure. The discovery is published this evening (2100hrs, 11 July) in the journal Circulation. Dr Iain Greenwood from St George’s, University of London led the study. He said “High blood pressure is one of the most common diagnoses in the UK and one in three adults have it that’s around 16 million people. People with high blood pressure are at much greater risk of heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease and it’s the main risk factor for stroke. “We are trying to understand how our bodies go about regulating our blood pressure under normal circumstances the more we understand, the better we can get at spotting what is going wrong and intervening when someone has this common chronic health issue. This discovery is an important part of the puzzle and might one day lead to new treatments.”

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