Lecturer Andrew Murphy is the head of hematopoiesis and leukocyte biology and leader of the immunometabolism program at the Baker…
Lecturer Andrew Murphy is the head of hematopoiesis and leukocyte biology and leader of the immunometabolism program at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Credit: Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
About 6 million Australians from 1
8 years of age and older have high blood pressure. Of these, more than two-thirds had uncontrolled or uncontrolled hypertension (non-medication), corresponding to 4 million adult Australians.
High blood pressure or high blood pressure is suggested to be one of the leading risk factors for heart disease.
The process where high blood pressure causes heart disease is not fully understood.
But now researchers at Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute have found that high blood pressure caused by specific brain signaling promotes heart disease by changing stem cells with the bone marrow.
The results, published in Haematologica show how an overactive sympathetic nervous system that causes elevated blood pressure can instruct bone marrow stem cells to produce more white blood cells that block the blood vessels.
Baker Institute Head of Hematopoiesis and Leukocyte Biology, Professor Andrew Murphy, said the results show a new era of myocardial infarction research.
“Hypertonia is a major independent risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, but we need more information to determine how it causes myocardial infarction and stroke,” said Professor Murphy.
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is a build up of cholesterol plaque in the walls of arteries, causing obstruction of blood flow.
“We now know that significant changes in the immune system contribute significantly to heart disease,” he says. “We aimed to determine how the sympathetic nervous system through the brain directly promotes atherosclerosis in the setting of high blood pressure.”
“We have discovered that this type of high blood pressure, often associated with stress, causes bone marrow changes that lead to increased white blood cells circulating through our vessels. This is important because the general perception of hypertension is that it is mainly a disease of the blood vessels, which means that other heart disease is missed. “
The team now explores specific molecules that are involved, which may explain why some current therapies are ineffective. They also suggest that management of stress, anxiety and pain will likely help to control this form of high blood pressure and the effects on the body‘s bone marrow stem cells.
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Annas Al-Sharea et al. Chronic sympathetic driven hypertension promotes atherosclerosis by improving hematopoiesis, Haematologica (2018). DOI: 10.3324 / hematol.2018.192898