Skip to comments.After 60 years, scientists find the missing link in our body's blood pressure control
Posted on 08/03/2021 12:46:34 PM PDT by Red Badger
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain
University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have determined the location of natural blood-pressure barometers inside our bodies that have eluded scientists for more than 60 years.
These cellular sensors detect subtle changes in blood pressure and adjust hormone levels to keep it in check. Scientists have long suspected that these barometers, or "baroreceptors," existed in specialized kidney cells called renin cells, but no one has been able to locate the baroreceptors until now.
The new findings, from UVA Health's Dr. Maria Luisa S. Sequeira-Lopez and colleagues, finally reveal where the barometers are located, how they work and how they help prevent high blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension). The researchers hope the insights will lead to new treatments for high blood pressure.
"It was exhilarating to find that the elusive pressure-sensing mechanism, the baroreceptor, was intrinsic to the renin cell, which has the ability to sense and react, both within the same cell," said Sequeira-Lopez, of UVA's Department of Pediatrics and UVA's Child Health Research Center. "So the renin cells are sensors and responders."
Sensing blood pressure
The existence of a pressure sensor inside renin cells was first proposed back in 1957. It made sense: The cells had to know when to release renin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure. But even though scientists suspected this cellular barometer had to exist, they couldn't tell what it was and whether it was located in renin cells or surrounding cells.
Sequeira-Lopez and her team took new approaches to solving this decades-old mystery. Using a combination of innovative lab models, they determined that the baroreceptor was a "mechanotransducer" inside renin cells. This mechanotransducer detects pressure changes outside the cell, then transmits these mechanical signals to the cell nucleus, like how the cochlea in our ear turns sound vibrations into nerve impulses our brain can understand.
The researchers have unlocked exactly how the baroreceptors work. They found that applying pressure to renin cells in lab dishes triggered changes within the cells and decreased activity of the renin gene, Ren1. The scientists also compared differences in gene activity in kidneys exposed to lower pressure and those exposed to higher pressure.
Ultimately, when the baroreceptors detect too much pressure outside the renin cell, production of renin is restricted, while blood pressure that is too low prompts the production of more renin. This marvelous mechanism is vital to the body's ability to maintain the correct blood pressure. And now, after more than 60 years, we finally understand how and why.
"I feel really excited about this discovery, a real tour de force several years in the making. We had a great collaboration with Dr. [Douglas] DeSimone from the Department of Cell Biology," Sequeira-Lopez said. "I am also excited with the work to come, to unravel the signaling and controlling mechanisms of this mechanotransducer and how we can use the information to develop therapies for hypertension."
Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?
More information: Hirofumi Watanabe et al, Renin Cell Baroreceptor, a Nuclear Mechanotransducer Central for Homeostasis, Circulation Research (2021).
Journal information: Circulation Research
Provided by University of Virginia
Cool. So, maybe in a few more years, they’ll be able to figure out how to make a tire pressure reporting system that doesn’t trigger the warning light for no reason.
It will be interesting to see if further research reveals that plaque coating the walls of veins and artiries throw off the pressure readings, kind of like putting stop leak goo in a tire and then confusing the air pressure sensors.
Maybe you have intermittent electrical noise being generated blocking/stepping on the periodic rf packets?
Fascinating article. Thanks for posting.
It’d be good to be off the Lisop/HCTZ. A permanent fix would be nice.
... and yes, I’ve already done the “diet and exercise” thing.
I used to take those.
Now I’m on Metoprolol and Amlodipine....................
Unless it’s expensive, this will never see the light of day
I’m borderline. On them, my BP is normal as water.
Go off it for a few days and the migraine will tell me my BP is up in the danger zone.
I guess we’ll see.
Can I cure my high blood pressure using this weird trick?
In my case I thinks it’s actually more to do with temperature and the sensor/programming itself. Though I do get the occassional “out of no where” light which is likely a brief disconnect as you suggest, where it almost invariably comes on is when I drive on the highway for more than a half hour in early hours (pre 6AM) or similaryly in the rain.
So I think it’s relatively cooler road and ambient air compared to what it would be otherwise. I get same deal winter/summer.
Interesting facts. 1/2 hr on the highway means the tires are heating up, raising tire pressure. Early am means lower temps where air is denser. Is it an over pressure indication or just an idiot light?
It’s supposed to warn of a flat - low pressure. However, the pressure is obviously not that low.
Note, the highway drive also involves a lack of braking. Brakes heat up the wheels tremendously.
So I think the computer remembers the “normal” status of the prior time I had the car on and gets confused.
I check pressure regularly manually because I note significantly better mileage on my typically crappy mileage vehicle. Extra 20-30 miles a tank on long trips.
In fact, to accomplish that, I have to let air out of the tires on long trips, especially when travelling significant soutward in the winter.
So, even when the tires are actually heating up (pressure increasing), the light is coming on. It only stays on about 10-15 minutes.
Only one tire or random?
I was prescribed and took lisinopril for a while. It caused the deepest most hacking cough I could even imagine.
The dash light doesn’t indicate which tire.
On my long trips, I have to let air out of all 4, all equally pressured, when I stop for gas. I bring a gauge with me.
Plus many of the control algorithms expect the sensor to be in valid range. Maybe try a run that would normally trigger it but at 4 psi lower.
You could buy a cheap OBD reader that bluetooth connect to your phone to get which tire. You may just have one faulty sensor.
AMEN! FORD ARE YOU LISTENING?
AMEN! FORD ARE YOU LISTENING?
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