Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Florida Researchers Score Gene Therapy Advance: Animal Study Shows High Blood Pressure Prevented In Future Generations

Date:
November 19, 1999
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
A form of gene therapy to ward off high blood pressure in rats appears to permanently alter the animals' DNA blueprint, preventing their offspring from inheriting the disorder.

By Melanie Fridl Ross

GAINESVILLE, Fla.---A form of gene therapy to ward off high blood pressure in rats appears to permanently alter the animals' DNA blueprint, preventing their offspring from inheriting the disorder, University of Florida scientists reported 11/12/99 in Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The advance represents the first time researchers have been able to protect future generations through gene therapy for any condition, said UF molecular physiologist Mohan K. Raizada. Other studies have shown random bits of inserted genes can be passed on but with no therapeutic effect.

The new approach involves using a form of genetic brilliance to block the action of a harmful hormone, angiotensin,which causes blood vessels to narrow, increasing blood pressure.

"The neat part of this study is we're able to show both the effects on high blood pressure as well as on the organs involved in the control of blood pressure," Raizada said. "We have shown that this form of gene therapy not only prevents these animals from developing high blood pressure but also prevents a lot of other types of pathophysiological changes in the heart, the kidney andthe arteries."

What's more, after studying two subsequent generations of rats - the original animals' "children" and "grandchildren" - researchers discovered the beneficial changes were passed on.Those offspring should have had high blood pressure but didn't, said UF vascular biologist Craig H. Gelband. Raizada andGelband, who are affiliated with UF's College of Medicine and the campuswide Genetics Institute, collaborated with Michael J. Katovich, in the university's College of Pharmacy on the study. Theproject was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association's Florida affiliate. Findings from related research also were presented at this week's annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Atlanta.

While it may be years before the approach is tested in people, the research could represent a first step toward improving the treatment of, or even preventing, high blood pressure andrelated health problems in humans, Raizada said.

"Our observations are very exciting in the sense that for the first time there is a possibility of permanent control of high blood pressure involving gene therapy," he said. "Where that leads to as far as human therapy is concerned is far away. We have many hurdles to jump. For example, our studies have shown we canprevent the development of high blood pressure. But in humans, there are no gene markers to define that a person is going to develop high blood pressure. The key would be to find therapies that would reverse high blood pressure once it has been established."

To date, gene therapy in humans has been limited to trying to correct existing disease in a way that does not permanently alter a person's DNA makeup. Raizada noted that before U.S. policywould ever change to allow such studies in people, a wide range of scientists, ethicists and public-policy specialists would debate the issue, taking into account the implications of changing patterns of heredity.

An estimated 50 million Americans battle high blood pressure, according to the national Centers for Disease Controland Prevention. The condition affects almost all the body's vital organs, particularly the heart and kidneys, changing their structure and altering their ability to function properly. It is a major risk factor for stroke, hardening of the arteries, heart failure, heart disease and kidney damage.

While medication controls high blood pressure in many patients, it can cause adverse effects such as persistent cough or even low blood pressure.

The hormone responsible for regulating blood pressure, angiotensin, acts at specialized sites known as receptors, located on the surface of cells. During their study, UF researchers rewrote the genetic message that typically orchestrates the creation of these sites. They then packaged the genetic material into a virus modified so it wouldn't cause illness and injected it into the rats.The virus, acting much like a car delivering passengers to a destination, transported the genetic material into the rats' cells, instructing them to halt production of the hormone's receptor sites.

Gelband noted that unlike most other viruses tested in gene therapy, the one UF researchers used appears to act differently once it enters a cell's nucleus, the cell's "command post."

"We've shown that our vehicle for the gene therapy, a retrovirus, actually integrates into the animals' DNA, and this may be the reason why it gets passed on to the next generations," Gelband said.

While UF researchers heralded the therapy's advantages, they also struck a cautionary note: All gene therapies have to be carefully scrutinized to see what effects gene transfer has on thegenetic characteristics of subsequent generations.

"We as scientists have got to be very careful," Raizada said. "What are the physiological consequences? We must notpredispose ourselves to thinking there are no side effects to permanent changes, and we should always guard for that."

------------------------------------------

Recent UF Health Science Center news releases are available at http://www.health.ufl.edu/hscc/index.html

------------------------------------------


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "University Of Florida Researchers Score Gene Therapy Advance: Animal Study Shows High Blood Pressure Prevented In Future Generations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991118120119.htm>.
University Of Florida. (1999, November 19). University Of Florida Researchers Score Gene Therapy Advance: Animal Study Shows High Blood Pressure Prevented In Future Generations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991118120119.htm
University Of Florida. "University Of Florida Researchers Score Gene Therapy Advance: Animal Study Shows High Blood Pressure Prevented In Future Generations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991118120119.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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