Salt intake and sodium pump inhibitor linked to aortic stiffening and cardiovascular diseases



High dietary salt intake is a challenge of modern lifestyles because it is known to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the precise biological mechanisms behind this relationship remain unclear. Evidence has suggested a role for a molecule found in the body called marinobufagenin (MBG), which suppresses the activity of sodium pumps that move sodium ions into and out of cells when salt intake is high and is associated with conditions linked to cardiovascular disease.


IRP researchers, led by Olga V. Fedorova, Ph.D., and Edward G. Lakatta, M.D., discovered that healthy young adults who consume a high-salt diet have an increase in MBG and left ventricular mass independent of the person’s blood pressure. Similarly, their studies in young rats that chronically consumed a high-salt diet showed that, compared to rats on a normal-salt diet, the animals consuming excess salt had elevated levels of MBG, an increase in aortic stiffness, and greater activation of a cellular signaling pathway related to cardiovascular disease.


The results of these studies suggest that MBG mediates the link between dietary salt intake and aortic stiffness, a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and accelerated cardiovascular aging. They also support the idea that reducing salt consumption to five grams per day or less, an important lifestyle change recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO), would help restore aortic elasticity and decrease left ventricular mass by reducing the production of MBG, ultimately lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Strauss M, Smith W, Kruger R, Wei W, Fedorova OV, Schutte AE. (2018). Marinobufagenin and left ventricular mass in young adults: The African-PREDICT study. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 25(15):1587-1595.

Strauss M, Smith W, Wei W, Bagrov AY, Fedorova OV, Schutte AE. (2018). Large artery stiffness is associated with marinobufagenin in young adults: The African-PREDICT study. J Hypertens. 36(12):2333-2339.

Grigorova YN, Wei W, Petrashevskaya N, Zernetkina V, Juhasz O, Fenner R, Gilbert C, Lakatta EG, Shapiro JI, Bagrov AY, Fedorova OV. (2018). Dietary sodium restriction reduces arterial stiffness, vascular TGF-β-dependent fibrosis and marinobufagenin in young normotensive rats. Int J Mol Sci, MDPI. 19(10). pii: E3168. doi: 10.3390/ijms19103168.

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This page was last updated on Friday, June 9, 2023