News archive 2008
“Rotten eggs” therapy for hypertension08 May 2008, PR 86/08
Scientists at King’s, in collaboration with teams at the National University of Singapore and the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, have found that hydrogen sulphide (H2S - the smell of rotten eggs) could offer a potential treatment for hypertension and associated cardiovascular disease.
The team found a way to harness the positive effect of hydrogen sulphide for a therapy which could treat high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, according to research published in the science journal Circulation.
Philip Moore, Professor of Integrative Pharmacology in the Pharmaceutical Science Division at King’s comments: ‘The enzymes that make H2S in the body do so slowly. Therefore, this compound is a better mimic of the real life situation.
‘Since it appears not to be toxic to vascular cells, it opens up an entirely new potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of hypertension. It may also pave the way to a better understanding of the role of H2S in other diseases such as neurodegeneration, diabetes and cancer’.
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) often causes no symptoms but increases the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Around a third of the adult population in the UK have been diagnosed with hypertension and it is most common in older people, those with a family history of the condition and in some ethnic groups.
The research team had previously shown that H2S is produced naturally within the body, along with other gaseous molecules such as nitric oxide, and that a balance between these gases relates to good health, whereas an imbalance could indicate disease.
In the case of high blood pressure, a reduction in nitric oxide causes an increase in blood pressure, while H2S may well counteract this. H2S acts to decrease blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels.
In the past, H2S could not be used as a therapy for high blood pressure and associated cardiovascular disease because it could only be administered in large and potentially lethal doses, either using H2S gas from a cylinder or sodium hydrosulphide.
However, the research team from King’s and the Peninsula Medical School have now identified a new molecule which would allow H2S to be released into the body in a more regulated and more importantly, non-toxic manner.
The result is a slow-releasing H2S ‘donor’ compound with cardio-protective and anti-hypertensive activity that could form the basis of an effective therapy for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.
Notes to editors
1. More information is available by logging on at: www.pms.ac.uk.
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher 2007) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has 19,300 students from more than 130 countries, and 5,000 employees. King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an annual income of approximately £400 million. An investment of £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are working together to create the UK's largest Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC). The AHSC will bring together the widest range of clinical and research expertise in the UK – strengths that will be used to drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity.
For further information visit http://www.londonsahsc.org
Kate Moore, Public Relations Officer (Health Schools)
King's College London
Tel: 020 7848 4334
Review of the King's year
King’s shows way for London Leaders
2008 RAE results
£1.5m to study symmetries of the universe
Honorary recognition for King’s
Safra lecture: Parkinson’s cutting-edge research
Rowing for Olympic Gold
British Museum and King's collaboration
New Fellows elected to Academy of Medical Sciences
First genome-wide scan for osteoporosis
This information is provided by the Public Relations Department
Tel: 020-7848 3202 Fax: 020-7848 3739 Email: email@example.com