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Project leader: Joon Lim

Over 1 billion people suffer from obesity related hypertension. Although adult behavioural and environmental factors promote obesity and hypertension, the environment encountered in development can also "program" the development of these diseases. We have shown that obesity related hypertension is associated with very high levels of renal sympathetic nerve activity and hypothesise that this is central to the development of programmed hypertension. We have also shown that in programmed hypertension, neurons in the hypothalamus may respond differently to number of appetite signalling molecules. This may underlie increased sympathetic activity. We are now identifying which neurons are involved, where they are located and whether the appetite signalling molecules leptin or insulin are responsible for sympathetic overdrive. We are also examining whether renal denervation can ameliorate programmed obesity related hypertension.

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