A new study has found certain immune system cells in the body may be the reason for high blood pressure.Researchers found macrophages - white blood cells, that are crucial to the body's immune system 'eat' molecules of a powerful hormone known as endothelin.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh believe if they can regulate levels of endothelin and monitor macrophages, it could be possible to make white blood cells relax blood vessels, which could drastically lower blood pressure.
To test this theory,mice were fed mice a high salt diet and their concentration of macrophages was lowered. Researchers discovered this increases high blood pressure. However, their blood pressure came down to a normal level when the macrophage level returned to normal. When macrophages‘eat’ molecules of endothelin, it causes the blood vessels to become tight and causes the rise in blood pressure.
"This study shows for the first time that macrophages - a type of cell that helps regulate our immune responses - can be involved in the control of blood pressure. More research is needed but these cells could be a new target for drugs to treat the condition," Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at The British Heart Foundation, told a news portal.
High blood pressure contributes to 7.5 million deaths across the globe. That is about 12.8% of the world's population. The World Health Organisation (WHO) figures reveal raised blood pressure accounts for 57 million disability adjusted life years (DALYS). High blood pressure or hypertension can also lead to heart diseases, heart attack, kidney disease and stroke.