Scientists at Bristol University realized that the cause of high blood pressure may lie within the brain, rather than with problems relating to the heart, kidneys or blood vessels. Such findings could lead to new ways of treating hypertension.

The researchers managed to isolate a protein JAM-1 in the brain which appeared to trap white blood cells and obstruct blood flow. This obstruction of the blood flow could cause inflammation and result in poor oxygen supply to the brain.

When they studied the rats, it appeared that the JAM-1 was linked to raised blood pressure although the exact mechanisms behind this are still not clear. Human trials are needed in order to understand more.

The researchers will focus now on understanding the type of inflammation within the vessels in the brain, so they would learn what drug to use, and how to target them. It is the protein JAM-1 that could provide new clues as to how to deal with the disease.

They are hoping that the new findings will enable them to treat those patients who failed to respond to conventional therapy for hypertension with drugs that reduce blood vessel inflammation and increase blood flow within the brain.