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Cardio-Vascular Blood Pressure Diet Genetic Research

Dietary Choices May Help To Treat Pulmonary Hypertension

1 month, 2 weeks ago

2610  0
Posted on May 03, 2024, 5 p.m.

The blood vessels of the lungs are not quite like others in our body, and this difference becomes clearer in pulmonary hypertension in which only lung blood vessels will progressively stiffen leading to chronic lung disease, heart failure, and death. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in collaboration with researchers from the Université Côte d'Azur conducted this study to investigate the underlying reasons for this organ-specific vessel stiffening and made a surprising discovery about these blood vessels in those with pulmonary hypertension.

According to the researchers' findings that are published in Cell Metabolism, they found that hypertensive pulmonary blood vessels are hungry, having a rather voracious appetite for two amino acids called glutamine and serine. As it turns out, with any unbalanced diet, there are consequences, and the metabolism of these two amino acids are a key driver of pulmonary hypertension disease progression. 

As the hungry vessels metabolize these two amino acids the process creates two new amino acids called proline and glycine which are the primary building blocks of collagen protein that makes up 30% of our body’s total protein and provides a structural framework for bones, muscles, skin, and connecting tissues. Unfortunately, the strong appetite and the resulting elevated levels of glutamine and proline in the hungry blood vessels drive the overproduction of collagen which leads to the vessel stiffening and impaired function which are the hallmark features of pulmonary hypertension. 

"For the first time, we have a dietary maneuver that may serve as an effective therapy for the disease," says Stephen Chan, who is the Vitalant Chair in Vascular Medicine and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and also directs the Vascular Medicine Institute and Center for Pulmonary Vascular Biology and Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC.

The researchers found that reducing the dietary intake of glutamine and serine-rich foods helped to reduce collagen overproduction and suggested that those with pulmonary hypertension should also avoid foods that are rich in serine and glutamine, or that eating foods in which these amino acids are depleted might help to boost the effectiveness of current medication. 

"It opens up a new way that we could treat this disease, because now -- instead of just relying on medications and transplantation -- there are possibly effective lifestyle interventions," says Chan.

To harness the characteristic appetite of these cells the researchers created a new diagnostic test for pulmonary hypertension using PET Scan technology and a glutamine imaging tracer that monitors where glutamine goes in the body like a GPS. They believe that this screening will help with early disease diagnosis and the implementation of both lifestyle and pharmacological interventions that will enable physicians to monitor the efficacy of the intervention being used in slowing disease progression. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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