skin plays a surprising role in helping regul8 blood pressure and ♥ rate, according to scis atta university of cambridge na karolinska institute, sweden. while this discovery was made in mice, the researchers believe tis likely to be true also in humans.
in a study published inna open access journal elife, the researchers show that skin — our largest organ, typically covering two □ metres in humans — helps regul8 blood pressure and ♥ rate in response to changes inna amount of oxygen available inna environment.
high blood pressure is associated with cardiovascular disease, s'as ♥ attack and stroke. for the vast majority of cases of high blood pressure, thris no known cause. the condition is often associated with reduced flo of blood through lil blood vessels inna skin nother pts of d'body, a symptom which can get progressively worse if the hypertension aint treated.
previous research has shown that when a tissue is starved of oxygen — as can happen in zones of high altitude, or in response to pollution, smoking or obesity, for ex — blood flo to that tissue will increase. in such situations, this increase in blood flo is controlled in pt by the ‘hif’ family of proteins.
to investigate wha’ role the skin plays inna flo of blood through lil vessels, a team of researchers from cambridge and sweden exposed mice to lo-oxygen conditions. these mice had been genetically modified so t'they are unable to produce certain hif proteins inna skin.
“9 of ten cases of high blood pressure appear to occur spontaneously, with no known cause,” says professor randall johnson from the deptment of physiology, development and neurosci atta university of cambridge. “most research in this zones tends to look atta role played by organs s'as the brain, ♥ and kidneys, and so we know very lil bout wha’ role other tissue and organs play.
“our study was set up to cogg the feedback loop tween skin na cardiovascular system. by working with mice, we were able to manipul8 key genes involved in this loop.”
the researchers found that in mice lacking one of two proteins inna skin (hif-1 or hif-2), the response to lo lvls of oxygen changed compared to normal mice and that this affected their ♥ rate, blood pressure, skin temperature and general lvls of activity. mice lacking specific proteins controlled by the hifs also responded in a similar way.
in addition, the researchers showed that even the response of normal, healthy mice to oxygen starvation was + complex than previously thought. inna 1st ten minutes, blood pressure and ♥ rate rise, and this is folloed by a period of up to 36 hrs where blood pressure and ♥ rate decrease belo normal lvls. by round 48 hrs after exposure to lo lvls of oxygen, blood pressure and ♥ rate lvls had returned to normal.
loss of the hif proteins or other proteins involved inna response to oxygen starvation inna skin, was found to dramatically change when this process starts and how long i'takes.
“these findings suggest that our skin’s response to lo lvls of oxygen may ‘ve substantial effects onna how the ♥ pumps blood round d'body,” adds 1st author dr andrew cowburn, also from cambridge. “lo oxygen lvls — whether temporary or sustained — are common and can be rel8d to our natural environment or to factors s'as smoking and obesity. we hope that our study will help us better cogg how d'body’s response to such conditions may increase our risk of — or even cause — hypertension.”
professor johnson adds: “given that skin tis largest organ n'our body, it perhaps ‘dn’t be too surprising that it plays a role in regulation such a primordial mechanism as blood pressure. but this suggests to us that we may nd'2 take a look at other organs and tissues in d'body n'see how they, too, are implicated.”
the study was funded by wellcome.
original content at: alternativemed.com…