New research identifies protein MMP7 is associated with future risk of high blood pressure. Dr. Lena Mathews discusses the importance of studying proteins in the blood, and how this could potentially lead to new drug targets for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.
Hello, my name is Doctor Lenna Matthews and I'm an assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins at this year's American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Philadelphia. I will be presenting our research findings on protein markers associated with hypertension and hypertension related complications in a session called novel biomarkers for cardiovascular health and disease. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease worldwide and the number of people with hypertension continues to grow. There's also data that blood pressure control worldwide is worsening, poorly controlled hypertension leads to end organ damage such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure. Therefore, understanding the underlying mechanisms of hypertension may help to prevent the development of hypertension and hypertension related complications. While genetics may explain 30% of variations in blood pressure among the population, the rest is related to the environment. Therefore, studying proteins in the blood, which are a result of the effects of both genes and the environment could potentially help us understand the underlying mechanisms of hypertension. In this particular study, we examined the association of nearly 5000 proteins in the blood with the development of hypertension among 5000 participants free of hypertension in the atherosclerosis risk and community study. We then validated any significant proteins. We found at a second time point in another group of ARIC participants without hypertension, we found that higher levels of one protein metro lysin also known as matrix metalloprotein A seven was significantly associated with the development of new cases of hypertension. We then examined the association of metro lysin with the development of complications of hypertension, specifically heart attacks, stroke and heart failure. And again found a robust association between higher levels of metro lysin and these hypertension related complications. Metro lysin is an enzyme that degrades the extracellular matrix, which is the supporting structure of organs such as blood vessels. Metro lysin is potentially involved in the process of changes to the vasculature that lead to the development of hypertension and sustaining hypertension and thus resulting in an organ damage. Future research on the mechanisms of metro lysin in hypertension could potentially yield drug targets for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Thank you very much for your attention.