Blood pressure control system found in kidney's structural units

January 14, 2011

A new finding shows how the million working units in the kidney regulate salt handling. This identifies a new possible therapeutic target for treating high blood pressure.

The kidney is made up of roughly 1 million working units called nephrons. These basic structural units remove waste products from the blood, recycle some substances to be reused and eliminate what is left as urine. The end segment of nephrons, called the distal nephron, helps set blood pressure by controlling the amount of sodium in our blood.

Today scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio reported how this essential function of the distal nephron is regulated. They demonstrated that sodium handling by the distal nephron is under the control of a local regulatory system.

Loss or dysfunction of this system leads to resulting from improper salt retention by the kidneys, the scientists found in mouse studies.

"These studies provide the first unequivocal evidence of a blood pressure control system in the distal nephron of the kidney," said senior author James Stockand, Ph.D., professor of physiology at the Health Science Center. "It turns out control of re-absorption by this system is as important to normal as is a better-understood system, called the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which works outside the kidney."

Many medications that treat target salt handling in the . "Our work identifies a possible new therapeutic target," Dr. Stockand said.

Explore further: Is it really only our kidneys that control blood pressure?

More information: The findings are in the Jan. 14 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Related Stories

Is it really only our kidneys that control blood pressure?

March 13, 2009

The problem of high blood pressure has reached pandemic proportions, causing premature death through heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease in a third of the UK population. For decades, scientists have battled at length ...

Recommended for you

Scientists create revolutionary material to clean oil spills

November 30, 2015

Deakin University scientists have manufactured a revolutionary material that can clean up oil spills, which could save the earth from potential future disasters such as any repeat of the 2010 Gulf Coast BP disaster that wreaked ...

A new form of real gold, almost as light as air

November 25, 2015

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.