John Libbey Eurotext

Magnesium Research

Vascular biology of magnesium and its transporters in hypertension Volume 23, issue 4, december 2010

Magnesium may influence blood pressure by modulating vascular tone and structure through its effects on myriad biochemical reactions that control vascular contraction/dilation, growth/apoptosis, differentiation and inflammation. Magnesium acts as a calcium channel antagonist, it stimulates production of vasodilator prostacyclins and nitric oxide and it alters vascular responses to vasoconstrictor agents. Mammalian cells regulate Mg 2+ concentration through special transport systems that have only recently been characterized. Magnesium efflux occurs via Na 2+-dependent and Na 2+-independent pathways. Mg 2+ influx is controlled by recently cloned transporters including Mrs2p, SLC41A1, SLC41A2, ACDP2, MagT1, TRPM6 and TRPM7. Alterations in some of these systems may contribute to hypomagnesemia and intracellular Mg 2+ deficiency in hypertension and other cardiovascular pathologies. In particular, increased Mg 2+ efflux through dysregulation of the vascular Na +/Mg 2+ exchanger and decreased Mg 2+ influx due to defective vascular and renal TRPM6/7 expression/activity may be important in altered vasomotor tone and consequently in blood pressure regulation. The present review discusses the role of Mg 2+ in vascular biology and implications in hypertension and focuses on the putative transport systems that control magnesium homeostasis in the vascular system. Much research is still needed to clarify the exact mechanisms of cardiovascular Mg 2+ regulation and the implications of aberrant cellular Mg 2+ transport and altered cation status in the pathogenesis of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.