A new study conducted by researchers at Fujita Health University in Japan has uncovered a concerning link between high salt intake, hypertension, and emotional/cognitive dysfunction. The study, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, sheds light on the underlying mechanisms through which excessive salt consumption can negatively impact brain function.
While it is well-known that high salt intake is a risk factor for hypertension, this study delves deeper into the intricate interactions between the peripheral and central nervous systems that contribute to cognitive impairment and emotional disturbances. The research team focused on the involvement of two key systems: angiotensin II-AT1 and prostaglandin E2-EP1.
The experiments were conducted on laboratory mice, which were given a high-salt solution for 12 weeks. The researchers monitored their blood pressure and examined the effects on emotional and cognitive function in specific brain regions, namely the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus.
The study revealed significant biochemical alterations in the brains of the mice exposed to high salt intake. Tau phosphorylation, a process involving excessive phosphates being added to the protein “tau,” was found to play a crucial role in the emotional and cognitive consequences observed. Tau protein is also implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
Furthermore, the researchers noted a decrease in phosphate groups linked to the enzyme “CaMKII,” which is involved in brain signaling. Changes in the levels of “PSD95,” a protein responsible for the organization and functioning of connections between brain cells, were also observed.
Interestingly, the researchers found that these biochemical changes could be reversed by administering the antihypertensive drug “losartan.” Additionally, knocking out the EP1 gene, associated with prostaglandin E2-EP1, also resulted in a similar reversal of the observed effects.
These findings highlight the potential significance of targeting the angiotensin II-AT1 and prostaglandin E2-EP1 systems as novel therapeutic approaches for hypertension-induced dementia. By understanding the underlying mechanisms and pathways, researchers hope to develop more effective interventions to mitigate the detrimental effects of excessive salt intake on brain health.
In light of these results, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of maintaining a balanced and healthy diet with limited salt intake. The World Health Organization recommends a daily salt intake of less than 5 grams to prevent adverse health outcomes. By being mindful of our salt consumption, we can take proactive steps towards protecting our cardiovascular health and preserving optimal brain function.
As further research unfolds, scientists and medical professionals aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of the complex relationship between hypertension, high salt intake, and cognitive well-being, ultimately paving the way for improved prevention and treatment strategies.