Anti-ageing gene can lower blood pressure

August 20th, 2009 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) An anti-aging gene called klotho, when injected into lab models, significantly reduced high blood pressure (BP) or hypertension.
Researchers who uncovered a link between the newly discovered anti-aging gene and high BP, offer new clues on how we age and how we might live longer.

Most impressive was the complete reversal of kidney damage, which is associated with prolonged high BP and often leads to kidney failure.

High BP is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, arterial aneurysm and is the leading cause of chronic kidney failure. Even a modest elevation of arterial blood pressure leads to shortened life expectancy.

“One single injection of the klotho gene can reduce hypertension for at least 12 weeks and possibly longer,” said Zhongjie Sun, principal study investigator.

This is the first study showing that a decline in klotho protein level may be involved in the progression of hypertension and kidney damage, Sun said. With age, the klotho level decreases while the prevalence of hypertension increases.

“Klotho is also available as a protein and, conceivably, we could ingest it as a powder much like we do with protein drinks,” he said.

Scientists have been working with the klotho gene and its link to aging since 1997 when it was discovered by Japanese scientists.

Researchers used one injection of the klotho gene in hypertensive research models and were able to markedly reduce BP by the second week.

It continued to decline steadily for the length of the project - 12 weeks. The klotho gene was delivered with a safe viral vector that is currently used for gene therapy. The virus is already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in humans.

The study appeared in the journal Hypertension.

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