Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery About Urine May Lead To Hypertension Treatment

Date:
November 15, 2007
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Researchers have identified a hormone from human urine that opens the door to developing novel medications to control sodium levels and treat hypertension.

Frank Schroeder inserts a natural product sample into a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. NMR spectroscopy has evolved into the most important tool for identifying new biologically active compounds.
Credit: Jason Koski / Cornell University Photography

For more than 40 years, researchers have suspected there must be a natural hormone that could safely flush sodium out of the body and could be harnessed to develop more effective and safer treatments for high blood pressure, or hypertension. Currently, drugs that lower sodium levels all have serious side effects because they also reduce potassium levels.

Researchers at Cornell and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (BTI) have used a new technique and identified a hormone from human urine -- a xanthurenic-acid derivative -- that seems able to do the job. The discovery opens the door to developing novel medications to control sodium levels and treat hypertension.

Frank Schroeder, an assistant scientist at BTI and co-author of the paper, which appeared in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, developed a new technique for analyzing complex mixtures of small molecules, making it possible to finally identify the hormone.

Prior to the discovery, researchers knew that a human steroid called aldosterone activates the kidney to reabsorb sodium and excrete potassium, which led them to suspect that there must be another hormone that would trigger the kidney to do the opposite: excrete sodium and reabsorb potassium. Many had tried to find such a hormone in human urine, but urine contains a mix of hundreds of molecules, and the correct one could not be isolated, probably because the suspected hormone breaks down easily during traditional chemical analysis.

Most researchers had given up searching for this "holy grail" of kidney hormones, until, in 2003, a private company, Naturon Corp., contacted Schroeder, then a research associate at Cornell and Harvard Medical School.

To do the job, Schroeder developed an approach based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy of partially purified urine. Traditionally, NMR spectroscopy, arguably the most powerful tool chemists use to determine the structures of unknown compounds, has only been used for the analysis of purified compounds.

Schroeder's approach allows NMR to identify compounds without isolating them, for example in a complex mixture such as partially fractionated urine. The technique revealed three completely new compounds, each of which was subsequently synthesized and injected into rats. The rats' urine was then monitored.

Two of the identified compounds, derivatives of a common metabolite xanthurenic-acid, raised sodium levels in the rat's urine but kept potassium levels constant. Schroeder said that while aldosterone (which does the opposite) is a steroid hormone, this newly discovered molecule is structurally more similar to such amino acid-derived neurotransmitters as dopamine and serotonin and, therefore, may also play other roles in the body.

"Now, we want to know what other functions these compounds have and whether they directly influence blood pressure," said Schroeder.

The study was funded by Naturon Pharmaceutical Corp.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Discovery About Urine May Lead To Hypertension Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071108171538.htm>.
Cornell University. (2007, November 15). Discovery About Urine May Lead To Hypertension Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071108171538.htm
Cornell University. "Discovery About Urine May Lead To Hypertension Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071108171538.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
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