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Waterworks

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  Two proteins in the brain are responsible for regulating a hormone that determines water retention in the body — and they could be key in treating diseases like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cirrhosis of the liver. Results of the research conducted at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) were published in the Nov. 1 issue of Endocrinology.

  According to Daniel Kapusta and Richard Wainford, researchers in the pharmacology department at LSUHSC, the brain proteins Gaq and Gaz act as on and off valves for the hormone vasopressin, produced by the hypothalamus. The hormone plays a role in preventing excessive loss of water from the kidneys, which can cause dehydration.

  In some individuals, mechanisms that control how much vasopressin is secreted don't turn off when the body has a high water content. Understanding the interactions of the brain proteins and vasopressin secretions could help physicians develop more effective therapies for diseases associated with fluid retention, including salt-sensitive hypertension. — Kandace Power Graves

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