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Aberrant purinergic afferent signalling in cardiovascular disease

72 months
Approved budget:
Professor Julian Paton
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Cardiovascular disease often occurs due to high blood pressure (hypertension), which affects one third of New Zealanders. Alarmingly, despite taking medication 50% of patients remain hypertensive. We urgently need a new way to control blood pressure. We discovered that a sensory organ (the carotid body) becomes hyperactive and triggers hypertension, but why this occurs is unknown. We hypothesise that excessive release of the energy molecule: adenosine-tri-phosphate (ATP) is the cause of carotid body hyperactivity. Thus, we will determine if the sources and quantities of ATP in the carotid body differ in hypertension and if its sequestration reduces blood pressure. We will explore if aberrant ATP signalling in the sensory systems of limb muscles also contributes to hypertension, especially during exercise. In exercising hypertensive humans, we will test if carotid body inactivation provides control of blood pressure. These studies will identify new, and urgently needed, therapeutic targets for controlling hypertension.