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Experts now able to explain why obesity causes high blood pressure


Key points from article :

Study identifies the cellular mechanisms that increase blood pressure in obesity.

TRPV4 protein surrounding endothelial cells allows calcium to enter cells.

This maintains normal blood pressure under healthy conditions.

Sequence of events leading to harmful microenvironment for calcium entry through TRPV4 shown.

Obesity increases levels of peroxynitrite (PN) -making enzymes in microdomains containing TRPV4.

These enzynmes silences TRPV4 and lowers calcium entry into the cells.

And without the proper amount of calcium, blood pressure goes up.

Targeting PN or the enzymes, an effective way to treat and prevent high BP in obesity.

Cannot use drug to directly activate TRPV4 as it is present in other tissues.

Better approach would be to target the specific events reducing TRPV4 function in obesity.

Attempts to use antioxidants to lower high BP have not been very effective in clinical trials. .

Research by University of Virginia School of Medicine, published in Circulation.

Discovered in human tissue samples and used to reverse high blood pressure in lab mice

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Scientific Journal providing information about cardiovascular health and diesases.


Research Center, University of Virginia


Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, UVA


Graduate medical school of the University of Virginia.