Americans die of cardiovascular disease or heart at an alarming rate. As a matter of fact, strokes, heart attacks, and related diseases will result in deaths of around 610,000 Americans this year only. Though some medications do assist, but it is better to tackle this issue, researchers do need to know how exactly the blood vessels and heart stay healthy in the very first place.
Now, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have figured out a protein known as GPR68, which senses flow of blood and tells small blood vessels called arterioles when to go for dilution. The researchers do believe that medications which activate GPR68 could one day be very useful to treat various medical conditions, comprising ischemic stroke.
Molecules that are Sense Blood Flow So Far Remains Unknwon
Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, Scripps Research professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and senior author of the study said that it has been known for quite a few decades that blood vessels are able to sense changes in blood flow rate and this information is significant in the regulation of blood vessel dilation and thereby controlling vascular tone.
Truly, flow-mediated dilation refers to a non-invasive clinical test that keeps informing doctors about the vascular system’s health. A compromised flow-mediated dilation is a precursor to a wide range of vascular diseases like atherosclerosis and hypertension.
Patapoutian further said that despite the importance of this process, the molecules that are involved within arteries in a bid to sense blood flow have so far remained unknown. Patapoutian and first author of the publication, Jie Xu, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab, and presently an independent scientist at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), has led the project with an aim to find GPR68 and figure out how it works.
The said study has been published on Cell, a science journal.