Scientists identify link between obesity, salt-sensitivity, BP

June 18th, 2010 - 4:17 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 18 (ANI): Scientists have identified one way in which obese people become susceptible to salt sensitivity and hypertension.

Medical College of Georgia researchers documented a chain of events in which excess inflammatory factors resulting from excess fat cause the body to retain more sodium and, consequently, more fluid and higher blood pressure.

Dr. Yanbin Dong, geneticist and cardiologist at MCG’s Georgia Prevention Institute found that a biomarker in the urine could help identify the most effective therapy for these patients. Dong’s team outlined the process that appears to start with fat producing more inflammatory factors, such as interleukin-6, or IL-6.

IL-6 in mice increased production of prostasin, and when it cut fellow protein ENaC it increased its activity and so salt reabsorption. ENaC determines how much sodium to excrete.

Dong said, “It’s very special; there are not too many proteases like that. We found that in cells fed IL-6, ENaC gets activated and the cells take in more sodium. It is the last step of your salt reabsorption.”

Measuring prostasis, which is excreted in the urine, may be a way to gauge ENaC activity in humans. A number of cholesterol-lowering or antihypertensive agents like Angiotensin antagonists, for example, block production of angiotensin II, which constricts blood vessels and increases IL-6 production.

“There may be a good reason to prescribe these types of drugs to obese people,” Dong said.

The study was published in the American Journal of Physiology Regulatory - Integrative and Comparative Physiology. (ANI)

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