Abnormal body clock linked to heart disease

18 December 2009

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Category: Research & medical benefits

clock.jpgHigh blood pressure may be linked to disruptions in the circadian body clocks, a study on mice suggests.

A circadian clock is a 24 hour cyclical rhythm in the body through which biochemical processes take place. Many researchers observe this rhythm to better understand how it regulates the body on a daily, weekly, or yearly basis. Previously research has found that many genes build and control the circadian rhythm.

Now, a study using mice shows a strong link between a gene involved in the body clock and high blood pressure. Researchers found mice with abnormally high blood pressure also had an unusual amount of the hormone aldosterone, which has a role in raising the water retention of the kidneys.

Researchers were able to show the clock controls the gene which codes for aldosterone. The gene is similar to one found in humans. As a consequence of the erroneous gene, the hormone is produced in irregular amounts and raises blood pressure causing hypertension.

Hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke and kidney damage as well as many other serious conditions. The team would like to conduct further studies and hope that this finding will influence future ways of treating hypertension to prevent heart disease.