Hypertension is known as the “silent killer” in that it affects more than 65 million Americans, but over 20 million of them don't know it. Hypertension goes unnoticed in its early onset, because affected individuals initially feel no adverse symptoms. Unfortunately even though hypertensive individuals don’t have outward signs and symptoms, serious medical consequences are occurring during this silent phase of hypertension.
Currently our laboratory is studying the role of carbon monoxide in angiotensin II
dependent hypertension. Angiotensin II is a hormone produced in the body that promotes
potent vascular vasoconstriction and salt and water retention. Angiotensin II levels
have been reported to be abnormally elevated in several forms of hypertension. Current
literature supports a role for angiotensin II leading to the deleterious end-organ
damage and medical crisis seen in hypertensive patients.
Carbon monoxide is an endogenous gas produced in the body and has been demonstrated to produce smooth muscle dependent vasodilation and endothelial dependent vasoconstriction. Angiotensin II has been shown to upregulate carbon monoxide production, yet the role of carbon monoxide in angiotensin II dependent hypertension has yet to be elucidated. Thus, our laboratory is zealously studying carbon monoxide and its potential as a novel treatment strategy to help eradicate the hypertensive disorder.
|Keith E. Jackson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
College of Pharmacy
University of Louisiana at Monroe
Monroe, LA 71209-0497