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In collaboration with a Cambridge research group, the Danish researchers, Poul Nissen and Hanne Poulsen, from Aarhus University have revealed why up to 10 percent of the population have high blood pressure. Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen
All animal cells depend on the sodium/potassium ion pump, which ensures plenty of extracellular sodium and intracellular potassium. The big difference thus created in the ion concentrations can be utilised for a variety of vital processes, such as communication with other cells and the exchange of substances. A normal pump pumps three sodium ions out and two potassium ions in per cycle (left). In adrenal tumours, however, mutations modify the basic mechanism so that the pump allows ions (protons or sodium ions) to flow into the cell (right). This upsets both the ion balance and the gradients across the membrane in the adrenal cortex cell, which it perceives as a signal to produce aldosterone. The overproduction of aldosterone leads to hypertension. Up to 10% of patients with hypertension have such tumours, but these can be removed by surgery, which can cure the patient. Figure: Hanne Poulsen

2013.08.09 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Small adrenal tumours cause high blood pressure

In collaboration with a Cambridge research group, Danish researchers from the PUMPkin research centre at Aarhus University have revealed why up to 10 per cent of the population has high blood pressure.