Inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels is an important aspect of, for example, cancer treatment. The study is published in the November issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Research.
Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is strictly regulated by a number of molecules that serve to either promote or inhibit the process. Certain diseases are characterised by excessive or insufficient angiogenesis. The rapid growth of tumors, for example, is conditioned on the formation of new blood vessels to supply oxygen and nutrients, which explains why angiogenesis is accelerated in cancer patients.
"At present, there are five approved drugs for inhibiting formation of new blood vessels," says research fellow Anna-Karin Olsson of the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology at Uppsala University, who headed the study. "All of these medications work in a similar way, by influencing the function of one of the agents that promotes angiogenesis. A problem with the medications is that the body develops resistance to them as treatment progresses. Improved knowledge about which molecules promote or inhibit the formation of blood vessels in the body, and the mechanisms by which they operate, is accordingly a research goal."
The study in question involved researchers from Uppsala University collaborating with colleagues in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany to investigate the function of histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG), a plasma protein naturally present in the body. Previous studies involving mice had shown that HRG inhibits angiogenesis and tumor growth. The new study demonstrates, among other things, that the HRG fragment responsible for the inhibitory effect is present in human tissue, which suggests that it serves as one of the body's own angiogenesis inhibitors.
The HRG fragment in question inhibits angiogenesis by binding to endothelial cells, which participate in the formation of blood vessels. Analysis of a large number of human tissue samples allowed the researchers to determine that the HRG fragment binds to blood vessels in cancer patients but not in healthy persons. The study also showed that the HRG fragment binds to blood vessels in the presence of activated platelets, blood cells that limit bleeding in the event of injury. This finding is interesting in view of the fact that cancer patients often exhibit high levels of platelet activation.
"Our findings suggest that attempting to inhibit angiogenesis is an aspect of the body's own reaction to diseases like cancer," says Anna-Karin Olsson. "The activated platelets create a microenvironment in which the HRG fragment is able to function as an angiogenesis inhibitor."
Data from so-called "knockout" mice, which lack HRG, support this conclusion. The mice are healthy and fertile, but exhibit high levels of angiogenesis in connection with tumor growth. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that the mice lack an angiogenesis inhibitor.
"Our data describes an entirely new mechanism of action for an endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor," says Anna-Karin Olsson. "This knowledge may eventually help in developing new, more effective drugs for inhibiting angiogenesis during disease treatment without affecting healthy vessels."
Anna-Karin Olsson | EurekAlert!
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences