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[2006/02/06]
A hormone controls blood pressure -A new target molecule of angiotensin II-
Hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart failure, stroke and renal failure. Blood pressure is regulated by the nervous system and hormones. Many factors including aging, stress, obesity and smoking affect blood pressure. Dr.Toshihiro Ichiki (Cardiovascular Clinic) is studying the relationship between angiotensin II, a vasoactive hormone, and antihypertensive drugs. Angiotensin II induces arterial contraction and increases blood pressure. Angiotensin II also induces cardiac hypertrophy, accelerates atherosclerosis and exacerbates arrhythmia indicating that angiotensin II plays a critical role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, many pharmaceutical companies are trying to develop drugs that inhibit angiotensin II production or action to treat heart failure and atherosclerosis not only to reduce blood pressure level. Dr. Ichiki found that a transcription factor, CREB (cAMP response element binding protein) is activated by angiotensin II, and is involved in the atherogenesis. He hopes to develop a new type of drug or gene therapy targeting the CREB to treat cardiovascular diseases.

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