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The role of microRNA’s in high blood pressure

Aug. 28, 2014

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a four year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to study the role of a specific microRNA in the development of hypertension and associated kidney injury.

Mingyu Liang, M.B., Ph.D., professor of physiology, is the primary investigator of the grant. Other investigators involved include Alison Kriegel, PhD, assistant professor of physiology, Pengyuan Liu, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology, Kristie Usa, laboratory supervisor, and Yong Liu, Ph.D., research scientist.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one third of adults in the United States—67 million—have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. In nearly half that population, the condition is not treated or controlled. Hypertension is a major risk factor for a variety of severe diseases, including end-stage kidney disease.

In this research project, Dr. Liang will investigate the role of a specific microRNA called miR-29 in the development of hypertension and associated kidney injury. MicroRNA’s are regulatory mechanisms in the body that play critical roles in a wide range of disease processes. Dr. Liang’s previous work showed an insufficiency of miR-29 could cause renal injury. This study will test if miR-29 insufficiency contributes to hypertension and examine the molecular mechanisms at work.

Ultimately, this project could reveal new mechanisms involved in hypertension, and may lead to new therapeutic targets.

This project is funded by NIH grant 5P01HL082798-09.

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