Protein could prevent blocked arteries
It’s as simple as A, T, G, C. Northwestern University scientists have exploited the Watson-Crick base pairing of DNA to provide a defensive tool that could be used to fight the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria — one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. The resistant nasty pathogens cause thousands of deaths
Full Post: Blocking mechanism found for antibiotic resistance in bacteria
For the first time, researchers have found that a modified form of a naturally occurring protein, N-cadherin, could prevent blocked arteries. Blocked arteries are a major cause of heart attacks and strokes.
The thickening of the artery wall, which occurs due to the build-up of fat and cells in the artery wall leads to the formation of an atherosclerotic plaque. Plaques can eventually break open, or rupture, leading to the formation of a blood clot that can block the artery and possibly lead to a heart attack or stroke. Doctors Cressida Lyon and Sarah George at the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) have found by making a modified form of cadherin they can stabilise the plaques and prevent them from rupturing.
In this University of Bristol study, published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Dr Lyon investigated the effects of a protein - called N-cadherin - that is produced by cells in the plaque. This protein helps neighbouring cells stick tightly together
The researchers designed a smaller, soluble, form of N-cadherin that could be transported in the blood stream. They found that soluble cadherin stabilised the plaques, making them less likely to rupture.
Drs Lyon and George said: “This study is the first demonstration that reduction of cell death with soluble N-cadherin can reduce the likelihood of plaque rupture. It highlights soluble N-cadherin as a potential therapeutic for blocked arteries and thereby heart attack and stroke.”
The cellular composition of the plaque is an important factor in the likelihood of plaque rupture. There are two main cell types involved - smooth muscle cells, and inflammatory ‘bad’ white blood cells, called macrophages. Stable plaques contain high numbers of smooth muscle cells while unstable plaques container fewer smooth muscle cells. The smooth muscle cells form a protective cap over the top of the plaque and provide strength to prevent ruptures from occurring. Smooth muscle cell death, which occurs during unstable plaque development, causes a weaker cap and increases the likelihood of rupture. Death of macrophages leads to the attraction of further inflammatory cells, which increases the incidence of plaque rupture.
The researchers found soluble N-cadherin reduced the death of both smooth muscle cells and macrophages in culture and in a model of atherosclerotic plaque formation. This reduction in cell death protected the plaques from rupture and caused a more stable plaque type; the size of the smooth muscle cell-rich cap was increased and fewer macrophages were present.
Dr George added that: “Further studies are of course essential, and therefore we and our colleagues are performing longer term experiments and attempting to reduce the size of the molecule to make it more suitable for clinical use.”
Atherosclerosis - a disease that includes the buildup of fatty, cholesterol-laden lumps of cells inside the artery wall - is the underlying cause of heart attacks and strokes. A team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators has now demonstrated that a receptor for prostaglandin-E2 plays a key role in the development of atherosclerosis. The findings,
Full Post: Receptor for prostaglandin-E2 plays key role in atherosclerosis development
Scientists call it the “French paradox” - a society that, despite consuming food high in cholesterol and saturated fats, has long had low death rates from heart disease. Research has suggested it is the red wine consumed with all that fatty food that may be beneficial - and not only for cardiovascular health but in
Full Post: Researchers discover how red wine may reduce Alzheimer’s
Masses of immune cells that form as a hallmark of tuberculosis (TB) have long been thought to be the body’s way of trying to protect itself by literally walling off the bacteria. But a new study in the January 9th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, offers evidence that the TB bacteria
Full Post: New avenue for TB therapy
Images that for the first time show bleeding inside the heart after people have suffered a heart attack have been captured by scientists, in a new study published today in the journal Radiology. The research shows that the amount of bleeding can indicate how damaged a person’s heart is after a heart attack. The researchers,
Full Post: New scan shows bleeding inside heart after heart attack
You probably know that poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to dangerous deposits of fatty plaques in arteries. But it is not just the heart that is affected - blood flow can be blocked to the legs too, leading to pain when walking, immobility and even in extreme cases, amputation. Approximately 20% of us
Full Post: Exercise can relieve symptoms of peripheral artery disease