Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein is potential new treatment target for adult pulmonary hypertension

18.10.2011
A protein critical to development appears to have a grave impact on lungs exposed to smoking and air pollution, researchers report.

Blocking that protein, called calpain, in the lungs may prove an effective way to avoid narrow, scarred blood vessels and pulmonary hypertension, said Dr. Yunchao Su, pharmacologist at Georgia Health Sciences University.

"Calpain enables the bad behavior that occurs in pulmonary hypertension," said Su, corresponding author of the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Pulmonary hypertension is an often progressive and deadly condition in which tiny blood vessels that permeate the lungs narrow, raising blood pressure and eventually enlarging the pumping chamber of the heart as it struggles to get blood inside the lungs.

Babies with heart defects can have it, but in adults it can result from chronic obstructive lung disease, or COPD, primarily caused by smoking (emphysema is the most common form of COPD) or air pollutants, including second-hand smoke. Inflamed and poorly oxygenated lungs start producing growth factors and other measures to constrict blood vessels in an effort to restore balance between blood flow and oxygen levels. This works in the short term, Su said, but a chronic stimulus such as smoking can make, ongoing constriction debilitating or deadly. Treatment improves symptoms such as shortness of breath, but the only cure is a heart-lung transplant.

Researchers found calpain gets activated by growth factors released by stressed lung tissue then multiplies the vascular remodeling by cleaving TGFbeta, another growth factor typically inactive in the lungs. Cleaving TGFbeta releases a strong, active form that increases cell proliferation and collagen production. A similar process helps heal a cut on the hand, but inside the blood vessel it's counterproductive, Su said.

Additionally, in animal models of pulmonary hypertension as well as lungs removed from patients getting a transplant, the researchers found elevated levels of calpain. When they blocked its action by giving an inhibitor or removing its gene, TGFbeta was not activated and vascular remodeling and scarring as well as the heart damage were prevented. "The pulmonary process was close to normal," Su said.

Next steps include seeing whether the calpain inhibitor can stop cell proliferation and collagen synthesis in lung cells removed during a biopsy. Toxicology studies also will be needed before looking toward clinical trials, Su said.

He noted that a calpain inhibitor is likely not feasible for children because of the protein's importance in development. He envisions an inhalable version of the inhibitor to minimize any side effects in adults.

Su's earlier studies helped define calpain's role in cell proliferation when he found that lung cells in culture healed just fine after being cut until he added the calpain inhibitor. The work was published in 2006 in the The FASEB Journal. Su suspected then that calpain also had a role in pulmonary hypertension.

Dr. Wanli Ma, former postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Su's lab, is first author. GHSU coauthors include Dr. Weihong Han, research associate, and Dr. Haroldo Toque, a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. William Caldwell's lab.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.georgiahealth.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>