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Magnes Res. 2010 Dec;23(4):S207-15. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2010.0222. Epub 2011 Jan 4.

Vascular biology of magnesium and its transporters in hypertension.

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Kidney Research Center, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Canada.


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 Mg2+ concentration through special transport systems that have only recently been characterized. Magnesium efflux occurs via Na2+-dependent and Na2+-independent pathways. Mg2+ 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 Mg2+ deficiency in hypertension and other cardiovascular pathologies. In particular, increased Mg2+ efflux through dysregulation of the vascular Na+/Mg2+ exchanger and decreased Mg2+ 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 Mg2+ 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 Mg2+ regulation and the implications of aberrant cellular Mg2+ transport and altered cation status in the pathogenesis of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.

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