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April 15, 2011

ULM professors publish research into mediating blood pressure increases

According to American Heart Association officials, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world, and more than 81,000,000 Americans suffer from some variation of the disease.

By far the largest number are affected by hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, which is a major contributor to the development and enhancement of heart disease.

"The management of hypertension is extremely complicated and it often requires vigorous alterations in lifestyle along with the implementation of several different classes of antihypertensive medications," said Dr. Keith Jackson, assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

These challenges are further complicated when patients experience hypertensive relapses that require an increase in the number and dosage of prescribed medications.

In addition, minority populations are often not responsive to antihypertensive medications.

To address these pressing problems, Jackson and Assistant Professor of Biology Debra Jackson are working to identify new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of high blood pressure, which will be beneficial to patients suffering from this chronic disease.

Their collaboration recently yielded publication in the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology. Their article is titled, "Inhibition of heme oxygenase augments tubular sodium reabsorption."

"This study focused on alterations in one of the blood pressure regulatory systems, namely the heme oxygenase carbon monoxide system," said Dr. Keith Jackson.

"We are interested in this system's ability to modify blood pressure through the elimination of excess circulating fluid."

The researchers found that sodium and water retention increased with the inhibition of endogenous carbon monoxide production, therefore, providing a mechanism by which blood pressure can be increased in hypertension

Both professors said that they are seeking to identify strategies to prevent an alteration in carbon monoxide mediated increase in blood pressure that could lead to premature death.

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