By University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, [RxPG] The kidney is made up of roughly 1 million working units called nephrons. These basic structural units remove waste products from the blood, recycle some substances to be reused and eliminate what is left as urine. The end segment of nephrons, called the distal nephron, helps set blood pressure by controlling the amount of sodium in our blood.
Scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio reported how this essential function of the distal nephron is regulated. They demonstrated that sodium handling by the distal nephron is under the control of a local regulatory system.
Loss or dysfunction of this system leads to hypertension resulting from improper salt retention by the kidneys, the scientists found in mouse studies.
"These studies provide the first unequivocal evidence of a blood pressure control system in the distal nephron of the kidney," said senior author James Stockand, Ph.D., professor of physiology at the Health Science Center. "It turns out control of sodium re-absorption by this system is as important to normal blood pressure regulation as is a better-understood system, called the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which works outside the kidney."
Many medications that treat high blood pressure target salt handling in the kidney. "Our work identifies a possible new therapeutic target," Dr. Stockand said.
Jan. 14 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry
Funding information and declaration of competing interests:The research was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association and included colleagues at the University of Southern California.
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This news story has been reviewed by Dr. Sanjukta Acharya before its publication on RxPG News website. Dr. Sanjukta Acharya, MBBS MRCP is the chief editor for RxPG News website. She oversees all the medical news submissions and manages the medicine section of the website. She has a special interest in nephrology. She can be reached for corrections and feedback at email@example.com
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