OHSU researchers link increased protein production in nerve cells to hypertension

School of Dentistry researchers in collaboration from researchers from the School of Medicine’s Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physiology & Pharmacology published a study in The Journal of Neuroscience Research that is the first to link blood pressure with the production and secretion of a protein in nerve cells known as BDNF, or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. It appears that pressure-sensitive nerve cell production of BDNF increases substantially during hypertension, which suggests that this research has serious implications for the future detection, treatment and prevention of high blood pressure.

“We are now able to knock down BDNF in the blood pressure control system and can move toward answering the next critical question, which is whether BDNF contributes to the development of hypertension, or whether it provides a compensatory mechanism counteracting those that lead to hypertension” said Agnieszka Balkowiec, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of integrative biosciences and adjunct assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology.

Read the full OHSU News release.

Research was supported by grants from the American Heart Association, Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (under Award Numbers HL076113, HL070962 and HL088552), including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.