Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New pathway discovered at Stanford provides insight into heart disease

13.11.2003


A new signaling pathway appears to play a critical role in the development of heart disease, according to researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine. Now that this marker of cardiac dysfunction, known as the APJ-apelin pathway, has been identified, it could lead to better diagnosis of heart problems, perhaps even allowing doctors to intervene in heart disease by blocking or boosting levels of critical proteins.

"The thing that’s clear is that apelin is increased in heart failure," said Euan Ashley, MD, PhD, a clinical fellow in cardiovascular medicine and one of the lead authors of the study, which is being presented at a Nov. 12 poster session at the annual American Heart Association meeting in Orlando.

"The idea of a blood test to help make a diagnosis of heart disease is very appealing," Ashley said. "But my bigger hope is for therapeutic potential, and given what we know about apelin levels changing a lot during heart failure, either blocking or enhancing this system may provide a treatment for heart failure."



The apelin-APJ signaling pathway’s role in cardiac health was discovered through straightforward techniques combined in such a way that made a previously unnoticed connection apparent. Researchers united Stanford’s long experience with cardiac-assist devices with the ability of microarrays to scan for the activity of thousands of genes at once. In the study, researchers looked at two different heart tissue samples from each patient. One sample came from patients suffering end-stage heart disease before any type of surgical intervention, and the second sample was taken after the same patients’ hearts had recovered with the help of artificial pumps known as left-ventricular assist devices, or LVADs.

The patients in this study relied upon LVADs for up to a year to pump their blood as they waited for an appropriate donor heart to become available for transplant. When the device was implanted, a small section of heart tissue had to be removed, which provided the "before" sample for the study. Once a donor heart arrived, the patient’s old heart became the "after" sample.

"By comparing the two states, the genes we are seeing show the differences between the patients at their worst and when their hearts have had a chance to recover for a bit," said Mary Chen, life science research assistant in cardiovascular medicine and the other lead author of the study. In other words, the things that get worse during heart failure improve with the aid of an LVAD.

Genes that change during the recovery process could provide valuable insight into the progression of heart disease because heart tissue after LVAD use approximates the patient’s healthy heart. The researchers screened matched samples from 11 male patients before and after their heart transplants using microarrays to test for the activity of more than 12,000 genes. Among the genes that changed greatly between the two states was one called BNP, already known to be the first marker of heart disease to date. While this provided some confirmation of their technique, far more intriguing was the discovery of a new pathway.

"Right at the top of our list was a gene that nobody had paid any attention to," said Ashley. "That was our first light bulb." He explained that the gene they found to be most active in the recovering heart was related to angiotensin - shown 20 years ago to be important in heart failure, leading to the class of drugs known as ACE inhibitors. The gene they found produces a receptor called APJ. The protein that combines with this receptor is apelin, which had been shown recently to be perhaps the most potent stimulator of heart contractions ever discovered. Nobody had connected apelin and APJ to cardiac failure until now, the researchers said.

To provide further evidence that apelin played a role in heart disease, the Stanford team detected the protein in human blood. Once they determined what a normal range was, they looked at patients with various stages of heart disease and found that the level of apelin in a person’s blood reflected the condition of their heart determined by standard methods. They further showed that apelin is located in the lining of the blood vessels, but it signals to the receptor APJ in the heart.



Other Stanford researchers who contributed to this presentation are Alicia Deng, life science research assistant in cardiovascular medicine; Philip Tsao, PhD, assistant professor of research in cardiovascular medicine; and Thomas Quertermous, MD, the William G. Irwin Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine. This work was supported by the Donald W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at Stanford.

Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

PRINT MEDIA CONTACT: Mitzi Baker at 650-725-2106 (mitzibaker@stanford.edu)
BROADCAST MEDIA CONTACT: M.A. Malone at 650-723-6912 (mamalone@stanford.edu)

Mitzi Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://med-www.stanford.edu/MedCenter/MedSchool/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology
07.12.2016 | Nanyang Technological University

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>