Research Offers Insights Into Liver's Role in Metabolic Syndrome

The organ seems to influence blood pressure variation in Hispanic-Americans

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THURSDAY, Oct. 5, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Liver function influences blood pressure variation in non-diabetic Hispanic-American families, according to a study presented Thursday at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

The liver is known to play an important role in metabolic syndrome, a condition that features insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and lipid abnormalities. While much still needs to be learned about how all these conditions are interrelated, it is known that insulin resistance influences blood pressure, according to a news release about the study.

In previous work, the U.S. researchers identified both physiological and genetic links between insulin resistance and liver enzymes. In this new study, they examined the link between liver function and blood pressure in 635 non-diabetic Hispanic-Americans who had a parent with high blood pressure.

The study volunteers had liver function tests and were checked for a number of factors that influence blood pressure, including age, sex, body weight, insulin resistance, lipids, and thickness of the wall of the carotid artery.

The researchers identified combinations of liver function tests that are significant predictors for systolic blood pressure -- the top number in a blood pressure reading. They also found that carotid artery thickness, sex, weight, and insulin resistance were linked to systolic pressure.

The liver tests did not predict diastolic blood pressure, which is the lower number in a blood pressure reading. Age, sex, and insulin resistance influenced that number, the study found.

The study authors said further research is needed to better understand the role of the liver in blood pressure and other features of metabolic syndrome.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association's 60th Annual High Blood Pressure Research Conference, in San Antonio.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about high blood pressure.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Oct. 5, 2006

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