Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find protein mechanism for potential atherosclerosis development

11.04.2003


Inactivating a protein that helps regulate the proliferation of vascular cells increases the chance of developing atherosclerosis, a major cause of heart disease, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have discovered.



Vascular vessels endure constant pounding and considerable stresses associated with blood flow. Vascular smooth muscle cells play an important role in the development of blood vessels, providing structural integrity and the ability to dilate and constrict. The low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP1) helps regulate the proliferation and movement of these smooth muscle cells, presumably because LRP1 forms a complex with the receptor for platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF).

In findings reported in today’s issue of Science, a UT Southwestern research team led by Dr. Joachim Herz, professor of molecular genetics and in the Center for Basic Neuroscience, discovered that inactivating LRP1 in vascular smooth muscle cells caused the overexpression of PDGF receptor and abnormal PDGF receptor signaling in mice. Smooth muscle cells proliferated and the vessel wall became highly susceptible to cholesterol buildup.


“We used gene targeting to unravel a mechanism that controls and holds smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration in check,” said Dr. Philippe Boucher, postdoctoral researcher in molecular genetics and first author of the study. “This process is hyperactive in atherosclerosis.”

The absence of LRP1 is unlikely to occur in humans, Herz said, but the research emphasizes the importance of PDGF signaling in the development of atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a buildup of cholesterol and fatty substances in the lining of arteries. Smooth muscle cells respond to this buildup by proliferating and taking up more cholesterol, resulting in plaque formation. Continued expansion of this plaque leads to arterial obstruction, which often results in heart attack or stroke.

“We wanted to find out whether the smooth muscle cells would abnormally proliferate after LRP1 was inactivated. They do, and the vessel wall is very susceptible to high cholesterol,” said Herz.

The researchers also discovered that Gleevec – a drug used successfully to treat chronic myeloid leukemia – significantly reduced the development of the vessel abnormalities that lead to atherosclerosis. In cancer cells, Gleevec blocks certain signals and prevents a series of chemical reactions that cause cells to rapidly grow and divide.

“We effectively found that Gleevec could reduce atherosclerosis in our mouse models by about 50 percent,” Herz said.

Herz cautioned that the use of Gleevec in this research does not imply it is an alternative therapy for people with high cholesterol.

“It’s better to keep cholesterol levels down and prevent these pathways from being activated,” he said. “The key to preventing atherosclerosis has not changed. People need to keep their blood pressure down, control cholesterol and control diabetes.”


Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Wei-Ping Li, assistant professor of cell biology; Dr. Richard Anderson, chairman of cell biology; and Dr. Michael Gotthardt, former postdoctoral researcher at UT Southwestern and now an assistant professor at the Max-Delbrück Center in Berlin.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Perot Family Foundation.

Susan Morrison | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.swmed.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>