Scientists discover a new way our bodies control blood pressure: the P450-EET system

Sep 30, 2010

If you are one of the millions of Americans with high blood pressure, more help is on the way. That's because a new research study published in the October 2010 print issue of The FASEB Journal shows that a protein, called P450, metabolizes arachidonic acid in our blood vessel walls to create a tiny molecule with a big name—epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET)—which in mice, turns off genes responsible for vascular inflammation and ultimately relaxes blood vessels to lower blood pressure. This protein and genes are also present in humans.

"We hope these results will help advance the development of new blood pressure lowering agents that increase EETs," said Craig R. Lee, M.D., from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C. "In particular, we hope that targeted-use of these new therapies in individuals with a poorly functioning P450-EET system will ultimately prove to be an effective treatment for patients with high blood pressure."

Lee and colleagues discovered this new protein using genetically modified mice with human P450 present in the cells lining the blood vessels, and using normal mice as a control group. The scientists found that the P450 caused the mice to produce EETs, which in turn caused the relaxation of blood vessels and lower blood pressure. When the mice were exposed to substances that increased blood pressure, the P450 mice had lower blood pressure and less damage to the kidneys than the normal mice. These results show that the P450-EET pathway is a target for the development of new blood pressure medications, and these findings may influence drug development for other diseases, such as , stroke, and cancer.

"Whether you're a Type A personality, overweight and out of shape, or genetically wired to have , this research offers real hope," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The "Having discovered a pivotal role for the P450-EET system, scientists can now develop a new class of drugs not only for lowering blood pressure, but also for preventing strokes and heart attacks."

Explore further: A novel therapy for sepsis?

More information: Craig R. Lee, et al. Endothelial expression of human cytochrome P450 epoxygenases lowers blood pressure and attenuates hypertension-induced renal injury in mice. FASEB J. 2010 24: 3770-3781. DOI: 10.1096/fj.10-160119

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Protein identified that plays role in blood flow

Sep 18, 2008

For years, researchers have known that high blood pressure causes blood vessels to contract and low blood pressure causes blood vessels to relax. Until recently, however, researchers did not have the tools to determine the ...

Promoting recovery from effects of severe allergic reaction

Apr 19, 2010

One of the life-threatening consequences of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that affects the function of multiple organ systems, is the widening of blood vessels that leads to a dramatic drop in blood pressure. New ...

Gene implicated in stress-induced high blood pressure

Nov 23, 2009

Do stressful situations make your blood pressure rise? If so, your phosducin gene could be to blame according to a team of researchers, at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, ...

Recommended for you

Connection found between birth size and brain disorders

5 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers has found what appears to be a clear connection between birth size and weight, and the two brain disorders, autism and schizophrenia. In their paper published in Proceedings of ...

A novel therapy for sepsis?

23 hours ago

A University of Tokyo research group has discovered that pentatraxin 3 (PTX3), a protein that helps the innate immune system target invaders such as bacteria and viruses, can reduce mortality of mice suffering ...

User comments : 0