June 26, 2023

Magnesium deficiency and blood pressure

Dietary magnesium depletion in a mouse model activated inflammatory pathways and molecules that promote hypertension, suggesting that increased magnesium consumption may be beneficial for reducing the prevalence of hypertension.

Dietary magnesium — an essential mineral found in foods like beans, nuts and spinach — influences blood pressure. High circulating levels of magnesium are associated with lower blood pressure, suggesting that magnesium deficiency, which is common, may contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertension. 

Ashley Pitzer Mutchler, PhD, and colleagues found that dietary magnesium depletion increased blood pressure and systemic inflammation in a mouse model. They found increased levels of the NLRP3 inflammasome, the inflammatory cytokine IL-1beta and reactive molecules called isolevuglandins in immune cells from magnesium-depleted mice. Low extracellular magnesium directly stimulated the production of IL-1beta and another inflammatory cytokine in cultured immune cells. 

The study, reported in Frontiers in Physiology, shows that dietary magnesium depletion activates the NLRP3 inflammasome and stimulates production of isolevuglandins, both of which promote hypertension. The findings suggest that increased magnesium consumption may be beneficial for reducing the prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Co-authors of the study include Annet Kirabo, DVM, MSc, PhD, in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at VUMC; Linh Huynh, Ritam Patel, Tracey Lam, Daniel Bain, PhD, and Evan Ray, MD, PhD, at the University of Pittsburgh; and Sydney Jamison at Meharry Medical College. Mutchler and Ray are co-corresponding authors of the study. 

The research was supported by an American Society of Nephrology Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant to Ray and by National Institutes of Health grants DK110332 and DK079307.