A University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences researcher has received $1.89 million from the National Institutes of Health to continue his work investigating hypertension.
Shengyu Mu, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the UAMS College of Medicine, is trying to understand why some people don't respond to high blood pressure treatments. But Mu's lab has found evidence that the salt-sensitive variety of high blood pressure may actually be an immune disorder.
"Twelve years ago, no one believed there was an immune connection behind salt-sensitive hypertension," Mu said in a news release. "Now it's a hot topic. My lab has found evidence to suggest this, as have labs at Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Duke universities. A picture is coming together, and the next step is understanding exactly how it works so we can pave the way for designing immunological strategies of treatment."
More than 1 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure. In the U.S., one in every three adults is living with high blood pressure, the leading cause of heart disease and stroke.
UAMS said that although there are many drugs available to treat high blood pressure, fewer than 50% of patients are able to control their blood pressure with current options. Mu's work indicates that new drugs targeting the immune system could be key.