February 27, 2007
Contact: Kaylyn Kendall Dines
Phone: (973) 972-3000
Study at UMDNJ Shows Ingredient in Chinese Herb Reduces Hypertension
Outcomes in May American Journal of
Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology
NEWARK — More than 70 million Americans over age 20 have hypertension, a chronic disease which is indicated by an elevated arterial blood pressure that measures higher than 120/80 mmHg. If left untreated, hypertension can result in heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease. While medications are often prescribed to control hypertension, researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey believe a Chinese herb can effectively reduce hypertension.
The outcomes of the complementary and alternative medicine study, which was conducted at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, is available online and will be published in the May edition of the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology. A team of researchers used tanshinone IIA, an active ingredient in a Chinese herb called danshen, to determine whether it can effectively reduce blood pressure. Using an animal model, the scientists have found that tanshinone IIA does reduce blood pressure.
According to Dr. David Kim, a doctor of Oriental Medicine and an assistant professor of pharmacology and physiology at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, tanshinone IIA significantly reduced blood pressure. Dr. Kim, the principal investigator of the study, said tanshinone IIA increased the production of nitric oxide and induced widening of the blood vessels.
While the mechanisms of how tanshinone IIA or danshen work in hypertension are not yet fully understood, these results contribute to the efforts to bring complementary and alternative medicine and allopathic care closer together in the treatment of hypertensive patients.
“We believe a combination of Oriental and Western Medicine can lead to better treatments for patients who suffer from hypertension and vascular diseases,” said Dr. Kim.
The study, entitled “Endothelial nitric oxide synthase is a molecular vascular target for the Chinese herb danshen in hypertension,” was conducted by several researchers including David D. Kim, PhD, and Walter N. Durán, PhD., who are members of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Walter Durán, the director of the program in Vascular Biology, is also a professor in the Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.
This group also demonstrated that acupuncture at specific sites, called meridians, reduces blood pressure in hamsters through mechanisms involving the enzyme endothelial nitric oxide synthase, production of nitric oxide and vasodilation of arterioles. The acupuncture study was published in the journal Microcirculation in September 2006. Both studies were supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The two studies were supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and a school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.