Researchers have discovered that a specific type of calcium channel -- a pore-like protein that nestles in the cell membrane and controls the flow of calcium into the cell -- regulates the relaxation of coronary arteries.
The studies showed that mice engineered to lack these calcium channels had constricted coronary arteries and had fibrous tissue in their hearts, which was evident when the animals hearts reacted to chronic blood restriction. The researchers hypothesize that drugs targeting this calcium channel might one day be used to treat cardiovascular disease by opening arteries.
The researchers, led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Kevin Campbell, published their findings in the November 21, 2003, issue of the journal Science. Campbell and his colleagues at the University of Iowa collaborated with researchers from the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iowa City, Loyola University Medical Center and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Jim Keeley | EurekAlert!
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