Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene clusters predict atherosclerosis severity, susceptibility

29.09.2004


Duke University Medical Center researchers have identified specific clusters of genes within human aortas that appear to predict with great specificity which patients may be at highest risk for developing atherosclerosis, as well as the severity of the disease.



For the researchers, this is an important first of many steps toward developing highly individualized approaches to identifying and treating atherosclerosis that are tailored to and informed by a patient’s unique genetic make-up.

Atherosclerosis is a disorder marked by the thickening and clogging of blood vessels, which over time can deprive the heart of necessary oxygen and nutrients. While factors such as diet, smoking, cholesterol levels and inactivity are important in the development of atherosclerosis, the researchers said that heredity plays a crucial role in how the body responds to these environmental factors. "Instead of trying to find a specific gene that might be implicated in the development atherosclerosis, we took the novel approach of trying identify clusters of genes that may help us better understand the progression of the disease," said Duke cardiologist David Seo, M.D. The results of the Duke research are scheduled to appear in the October 2004 issue of the journal Arteriorsclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and are published early on-line at http://atvb.ahajournals.org. "In a complex disorder like atherosclerosis, it is not likely that only one gene is involved, but many different ones that interact with each other," said Seo.


Specifically, the researchers found that their new model could predict with 93.5 percent accuracy the extent of atherosclerosis. It could also predict with 93.6 percent accuracy the location of atherosclerotic lesions. "This study is the foundation of future research and was absolutely critical study in demonstrating that we can indeed refine genomic techniques to address the risk for complex disorders like atherosclerosis," said cardiologist Pascal Goldschmidt, M.D., senior member of the research team and chairman of Duke’s Department of Medicine. "After seeing the results of this study, I am extremely encouraged that at some point after further research we will be able to help fulfill the promise of personalized medicine," Goldschmidt. "This would not have been possible without the collaborations across this institution, as well as the support of the National Institutes of Health."

For their experiments, the research collected more than 60 fresh aorta samples from humans whose hearts had been harvested for organ transplantation. The aorta, the body’s largest artery, takes blood ejected from the heart and distributes it throughout the body via smaller arteries. The samples ranged from healthy to severely diseased. The researchers then "mapped" not only the degree of atherosclerotic plaque development, but also the locations of the plaque within the aorta. Location of the plaque is an important indicator of disease susceptibility, the researchers said, because atherosclerosis tends to progress toward the heart.

Once the samples were mapped by defined segments, the researches then performed a DNA microarray, or gene chip, analysis of each region. Using this new technique, researchers can quickly screen more than 12,500 known genes, searching for those that are "turned on," or are expressing themselves. In terms of severity of disease, the researchers found a cluster of 208 genes that predicted severe disease in 29 out of 31 (93.5 percent) tissues samples, and a cluster of 28 genes that predicted location of disease in 59 out of 63 samples (93.6 percent).

In general, many of the genes found within the clusters were known to researchers, although there was very little overlap between genes identified in the severity and locations groups. The genes in the severity cluster tended to be involved in the inflammation process, while those related to susceptibility tend to mediate cellular responses that occur prior to the inflammatory process. "While the methods we used to identify these genes do not have immediate clinical applications, they do play an important role in identifying genes for further study," Seo said. "The identification of these genes advances our understanding of the biological pathways relevant to atherosclerosis. "Many of these genes are likely to be implicated in the disease process and may become targets of future therapies," Seo continued. "By identifying variants within these genes, we may be able to identify combinations of such variants that when taken together with known clinical risk factors, may lead to new prognostic and diagnostic tools for cardiovascular disease."

The research team plans further studies in animal mouse models of atherosclerosis to further refine their techniques. Since it is not practical to test samples of aortas in living patients, the also researchers hope to develop a way to correlate their findings in the aorta with possible markers in circulating blood.

Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

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...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

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...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

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...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

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...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>