Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UC Irvine Researchers Identify Key Receptor That Helps Body Regulate Blood Pressure, Circulation

Date:
September 16, 1999
Source:
University Of California, Irvine
Summary:
A team of UC Irvine College of Medicine researchers has discovered a key receptor in major blood vessels that binds with a protein to help regulate blood pressure and circulation. The finding eventually could result in new treatments for hypertension and other diseases of the cardiovascular system.

Findings Could Lead to Development of New Drugs That Treat High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease

Irvine, Calif. -- A team of UC Irvine College of Medicine researchers has discovered a key receptor in major blood vessels that binds with a protein to help regulate blood pressure and circulation. The finding eventually could result in new treatments for hypertension and other diseases of the cardiovascular system.

Olivier Civelli, professor of pharmacology, and senior pharmacology researchers Hans-Peter Nothacker and Zhiwei Wang found a receptor in rats that binds to a protein called urotensin II. The receptor is located in the brain, heart and major arteries. Urotensin II was discovered recently as an important regulator of the cardiovascular system, working to constrict arteries and possibly to increase blood pressure in response to stress and exercise. The researchers report their findings in the October issue of Nature: Cell Biology.

"Urotensin II has been shown to regulate blood flow through arteries in the body, but this is the first time we've matched it with a receptor," said Civelli, the Eric L. and Lila D. Nelson Chair in Neuropharmacology. "While there are many chemicals that act on blood pressure, urotensin II acts just a little differently, so we may be able to develop drugs that can treat high blood pressure in patients for whom existing drugs aren't effective."

Hypertension is a very complex disorder that is the single most common reason for doctor visits in the United States. Approximately 50 million people nationwide have high blood pressure, but less than one third of them have it under control, according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension is considered a major risk factor for cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke.

Civelli and his colleagues found that urotensin II constricts arteries more mildly and for a longer period of time than other chemicals known for similar effects on blood pressure. The researchers also found that urotensin II works by binding to its receptor in a part of the brain called the brainstem and in the heart and major blood vessels--including the pulmonary artery, which supplies blood to the lungs, and the aorta, the major vessel leading from the heart.

In addition, the researchers found that urotensin II is manufactured in the kidney, indicating that this organ plays an important role in how the protein regulates blood pressure.

The scientists found the receptor through a laborious technique known as an "orphan receptor strategy," in which receptors are tested to see if they bind against neurotransmitters, hormones and other chemicals, much like bait is used to catch a fish. Once a receptor finally binds to a chemical, researchers then determine what the chemical looks like and how it functions. In this case, the scientists tested a variety of chemicals in the brain and came upon one chemical that binds to the receptor--urotensin II.

Receptors act as the gateway between nerve cells. When bound to a specific chemical, they stimulate nerves to fire off their own neurotransmitters, which can initiate certain behaviors or inhibit others. Receptors also can act as a gateway between blood vessels and nerve cells, binding with chemicals in the body that in turn stimulate nerve cells to constrict or loosen blood vessels.

The researchers are now focusing on learning how the receptor helps blood vessels and the brain control blood pressure. Pinpointing how urotensin II interacts with the wide range of neurotransmitters, proteins and other chemicals that work to maintain normal blood pressure could result in more effective treatments for high blood pressure, Civelli said.

Civelli has been conducting research on receptors in the nervous system for more than a decade. Recently, Civelli and his colleagues found a receptor that plays a role in regulating eating behavior and could be used to design drugs that fight obesity, and a receptor that appears to help the body regulate its reactions to stress.

Anne Marie McNeill, Yumiko Saito, Sven Merten and Sue Duckles of the UCI College of Medicine and Brian O'Dowd of the University of Toronto in Canada assisted Civelli, Wang and Nothacker in their research.

###

A complete archive of press releases is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.communications.uci.edu/~inform/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, Irvine. "UC Irvine Researchers Identify Key Receptor That Helps Body Regulate Blood Pressure, Circulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990916074915.htm>.
University Of California, Irvine. (1999, September 16). UC Irvine Researchers Identify Key Receptor That Helps Body Regulate Blood Pressure, Circulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990916074915.htm
University Of California, Irvine. "UC Irvine Researchers Identify Key Receptor That Helps Body Regulate Blood Pressure, Circulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990916074915.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins