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New York Medical College Receives $1.6 million Grant for Study to Combat Hypertension

Nicholas Ferreri, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, awarded NIH grant

October 05, 2021
Nicholas Ferreri, Ph.D.
Nicholas Ferreri, Ph.D. - Featured News Size

Nicholas Ferreri, Ph.D. '84, professor of pharmacology at New York Medical College, was awarded a $1,640,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to study the mechanisms that regulate the body’s response to salt intake as it relates to hypertension and other conditions.

“Hypertension is an important risk factor for the development of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease that affects greater than 40 percent of the population in the United States,” says Dr. Ferreri. “Many hypertensive patients, especially African Americans, exhibit sensitivity to salt. Mechanisms that regulate salt and water transport in the kidney are critical to understanding the development of hypertension.”

In past studies, Dr. Ferreri has shown that tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) produced within the kidney is part of a mechanism that regulates renal function and the blood pressure response to increases in dietary salt intake.

“The production of TNF within the kidney is increased by high salt intake and decreased by low salt intake, suggesting that it may be important in salt-dependent forms of hypertension and other conditions in which salt concentrations are altered,” said Dr. Ferreri. “Genetic and molecular approaches are currently being used to determine how TNF released from renal epithelial cells elicits regulatory effects in the kidney and interacts with inflammatory cells that infiltrate the kidney in response to elevated blood pressure.”

The new study will determine the mechanisms that regulate an intratubular TNF system that is activated in renal epithelial cells in response to increases in dietary salt intake and attenuates salt-dependent increases in blood pressure.