High blood pressure or hypertension has a high prevalence worldwide. This pathology causes alterations in the structure and function of the arteries, which become narrower and stiffer. As a consequence, blood flow to tissues is complicated, including the heart, brain and kidney, and can cause myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke or kidney failure, which are the main causes of death in the world.
The INVASC research group at the Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC) has led research to study new drugs that control hypertension and reduce the damage caused to its target organs. The new compound synthesized by researchers from the Institute of Medical Chemistry (IQM-CSIC), called ITH13001, has been obtained from melatonin, a hormone produced by the body that has direct antioxidant properties. “Among the mechanisms that participate in hypertension, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress stand out, which contribute to the cardiac and vascular alterations that characterize this pathology,” explains Raquel Hernanz, researcher at the URJC and co-author of the published study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Furthermore, according to the researcher, “hypertension produces cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, with a thickening of the heart wall that can cause heart failure, being an important risk factor for premature cardiac death. In the present work we have observed that ITH13001 prevents these cardiac alterations."
Experimental treatment with potential clinical application
This study has been carried out in an experimental model of hypertension with a short treatment with ITH13001 (for 14 days) in mice. “We have observed that this drug prevents vascular stiffness and endothelial dysfunction, a deterioration in the dilating capacity of the arteries that is a prognostic factor for future cardiovascular events,” explains the URJC researcher.
In this work it has been observed that, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, ITH13001 reduces blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular alterations associated with hypertension. Therefore, the good results obtained allow us to consider this compound as a good candidate for the treatment of this pathology and to carry out additional studies to confirm its long-term effects.
The URJC researchers belong to the Network Biomedical Research Center for Cardiovascular Diseases (CIBERCV). The Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), the Imperial College London, the Institute of Medicinal Chemistry (IQM-CSIC) and the Danish University of Aarhus.
In addition, the authors of this work have filed a patent (P-08794) for the use of ITH13001 for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders associated with high blood pressure.