University scientists are investigating how a protein found in fish could be used to treat chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Medical scientists at the University of Leicester have found the Goby fish, which lives in the Pacific Ocean, could be used to locate a protein called Urotensin II, important for regulating blood pressure in all vertebrates, from fish to humans.
Researcher Dr Radoslaw Debiec, from the University’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, said: “The protein found in the fish has remained almost unaltered during evolution.
“This indicates that it might be of critical importance in regulation of blood pressure and understanding the genetic background of high blood pressure.”
It is hoped uncovering the genetic causes of high blood pressure will lead to better prediction and early prevention.
Analysis of families showed genetic information encrypted in the protein travels together with the risk of high blood pressure across generations.
The findings will be presented at the Festival of Postgraduate Research at the University of Leicester where Dr Debiec will explain how the study may have an “impact on the development of new blood pressure-lowering medications”, which target the protein.
Copyright Press Association 2009