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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Mar;294(3):H1103-18. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00903.2007. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

Transient receptor potential melastatin 6 and 7 channels, magnesium transport, and vascular biology: implications in hypertension.

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Kidney Research Center, Ottawa Heallth Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5.


Magnesium, an essential intracellular cation, is critically involved in many biochemical reactions involved in the regulation of vascular tone and integrity. Decreased magnesium concentration has been implicated in altered vascular reactivity, endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation, and structural remodeling, processes important in vascular changes and target organ damage associated with hypertension. Until recently, very little was known about mechanisms regulating cellular magnesium homeostasis, and processes controlling transmembrane magnesium transport had been demonstrated only at the functional level. Two cation channels of the transient receptor potential melastatin (TRPM) cation channel family have now been identified as magnesium transporters, TRPM6 and TRPM7. These unique proteins, termed chanzymes because they possess a channel and a kinase domain, are differentially expressed, with TRPM6 being found primarily in epithelial cells and TRPM7 occurring ubiquitously. Vascular TRPM7 is modulated by vasoactive agents, pressure, stretch, and osmotic changes and may be a novel mechanotransducer. In addition to its magnesium transporter function, TRPM7 has been implicated as a signaling kinase involved in vascular smooth muscle cell growth, apoptosis, adhesion, contraction, cytoskeletal organization, and migration, important processes involved in vascular remodeling associated with hypertension and other vascular diseases. Emerging evidence suggests that vascular TRPM7 function may be altered in hypertension. This review discusses the importance of magnesium in vascular biology and implications in hypertension and highlights the transport systems, particularly TRPM6 and TRPM7, which may play a role in the control of vascular magnesium homeostasis. Since the recent identification and characterization of Mg2+-selective transporters, there has been enormous interest in the field. However, there is still a paucity of information, and much research is needed to clarify the exact mechanisms of magnesium regulation in the cardiovascular system and the implications of aberrant transmembrane magnesium transport in the pathogenesis of hypertension and other vascular diseases.

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