Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers have discovered that changes in the gene expression of a key enzyme may contribute to high blood pressure and increase susceptibility to forming blood clots in pregnant women with preeclampsia. These findings could provide clues to the best treatment approaches for high blood pressure and the formation of blood clots that can block blood flow to a pregnant woman's internal organs and lead to organ failure. Researchers have been working to determine the root cause of preeclampsia on the molecular level and have now identified that epigenetic mechanisms may be at play. Epigenetics refers to changes in gene expression that are mediated through mechanisms other than changes in the DNA sequence. In a study published online in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, the VCU team reported that thromboxane synthase - an important inflammatory enzyme - is increased in the blood vessels of expectant mothers with preeclampsia.
Scientists at the University of Southampton in the UK, have made a discovery that improves our understanding of how arteries control blood pressure. The finding is expected to lead to better treatments for cardiovascular or heart disease. Led by Dr Graham Burdge, Reader in Human Nutrition at Southampton, the scientists report their study in the 3 April issue of PLoS ONE. The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), and BHF Professor Mark Hanson is one of the co-authors. High blood pressure is a risk factor in developing heart disease, a growing public health issue that was responsible for one in three deaths in the UK in 2009. Burdge told the press: "Discovering a new process which controls how arteries work, and finding that it can be modified in the laboratory, raises a strong possibility for developing new medicines that may lead to better ways of treating cardiovascular disease.
Treatment with an ACE inhibitor for lowering high blood pressure showed a significant mortality reduction in patients with a high prevalence of hypertension, according to a report published in the European Heart Journal, the flagship journal of the European Society of Cardiology. In the study, 20 different trials including nearly 160, 000 randomly selected patients with high blood pressure were treated with renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors or control treatment, such as placebo or normal care with a mean follow up of 4.3 years. RAAS inhibitors showed a 5% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 7% reduction in cardiovascular mortality when compared with control antihypertensive therapy. However, in a stratified study according to the class of drug, the overall all-cause mortality reduction was a result of the beneficial effect of the class of ACE inhibitors, showing a significant 10% reduction, whereas the AT1 receptor blockers (ARBs) had no reduction.
In the study, all-cause and CVD mortality risks were found to be significantly higher among study participants that didn't exercise compared with active participants at all blood pressure levels. Moreover, the excess mortality risks of physical inactivity, when converted into a "blood pressure equivalence of physical activity" measurement, revealed that physical inactivity was similar to a rise in mortality risk equivalent to an increase in blood pressure of 40-50 mmHg. "The risk of developing CVD has been proven to increase significantly as blood pressure increases; and reducing blood pressure to reduce CVD risk is an important treatment goal for all physicians, " said CP Wen, Institute of Population Health Science, National Health Research Institute, Taiwan. "This study is the first to quantify the impact of exercise on the risk profile of people with high blood pressure.
Obese women run the risk of problems during pregnancy, labour and complications for the baby's health. A new study of more than 3000 expectant mothers confirms this, and also reveals that being underweight also has specific complications. Researchers at University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, in Granada, have identified the risks in pregnancy related specifically to obesity and have compared them to underweight women to confirm that extreme slimness also carries a risk. "During pregnancy, obesity is linked to hypertension, gestational diabetes, premature labour, macrosomy of the foetus and unexplained death during labour" SebastiĆ n Manzanares, the first author of the study explains to SINC. "Nonetheless, there is still little data about the link between being underweight and perinatal complications".