Solving a 100-year mystery in blood pressure research

ScienceDaily | 10/30/2018 | Staff
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For example, when you stand up, your blood pressure normally drops -- rapidly. Yet you don't faint thanks to baroreceptors, which tell your heart rate to increase and push more blood to your brain.

A new Scripps Research study pinpoints the two proteins that sense blood pressure and help control the baroreceptor reflex, according to research published recently in Science. The research is the first to reveal exactly how "mechnotransduction," or the sensing of changes in pressure, works in these cells.

Tight - Regulation - Blood - Pressure - Health

"Tight regulation of blood pressure is essential for health," says Wei-Zheng Zeng, PhD, a postdoctoral associate at Scripps Research and first author of the study. "Blood pressure is acutely sensed by baroreceptor neurons, but the mechanism of how baroreceptors sense blood pressure remained a mystery for more than 100 years."

The two proteins -- PIEZO1 and PIEZO2 -- were originally discovered in the lab of study senior author Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, a Scripps Research professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. In just the past few years, it's become clear PIEZOs do a lot of work. The Patapoutian lab has shown PIEZOs are responsible for sensing pressure in the lungs, different kinds of pain and soft touch. PIEZO1 even helps red blood cells keep their shape.

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