Opening a channel for salt retention

Apr 25, 2008

A research team has developed the first small molecule that can reversibly activate a key protein involved in balancing sodium levels, paving the way for drugs that can treat low blood pressure and related conditions.

The human epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) controls sodium flow across many tissues such as the lungs, kidneys, and colon, and it is vital to maintaining proper salt balance and blood pressure. Interestingly, while there are available drugs that can block over-active sodium channels, which can help treat hypertension and other disorders, no one has yet found effective ENaC activators.

Now, Bryan Moyer and colleagues managed to identify one, called S3969. In studies with both amphibian and human cells, this molecule could increase sodium flow through normal ENaC and restore function to deficient ENaC.

The sustained yet reversible action of S3969 makes it a good model to build future drugs aimed at improving hypotension, neonatal pulmonary edema (reduced sodium uptake in the lungs can lead to fluid retention), and renal salt wasting disorders.

Source: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Explore further: Study establishes zebrafish as a model for flu study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cystic fibrosis gene typo is a double whammy

Nov 12, 2010

An imbalance of salt and water in patients with cystic fibrosis makes their lungs clog up with sticky mucus that is prone to infection. The cause of the offending imbalance is a well-known genetic error, one that blocks the ...

Recommended for you

Scientists aim to give botox a safer facelift

3 hours ago

New insights into botulinum neurotoxins and their interactions with cells are moving scientists ever closer to safer forms of Botox and a better understanding of the dangerous disease known as botulism. By comparing all known ...

User comments : 0