One of the causes of high blood pressure (BP) lies within the brain rather than the heart or blood vessels—this controversial suggestion has been made by scientists at the University of Bristol.
Dr Hidefumi Waki, working in a research group led by professor Julian Paton, has found a new role of protein, JAM-1 (junctional adhesion molecule-1), which is located in the walls of the blood vessels in the brain. JAM-1 traps white blood cells called leucocytes that, once trapped, can cause inflammation and may obstruct blood flow, resulting in poor oxygen supply to the brain. This has led to the idea that high BP or hypertension is an inflammatory vascular disease of the brain. Hypertension affects 60 crore people worldwide, the problem is of pandemic proportions, and The alarming statistic that nearly 60% of patients remain hypertensive , even though they are despite taking drugs to alleviate the condition. This emphasizes the urgency of looking for new mechanisms by which the body controls BP, and finding new therapeutic targets to drive fresh-drug development.
As there is still little understanding of the changes that occur in people when hypertension develops, the suspected role of JAM-1 is of great interest and opens up multiple new avenues for further research and potential treatment.