UAlberta research team discovers a link between pulmonary hypertension, diabetes and cancer
A UAlberta team has discovered that a protein that plays a critical role in metabolism, the process by which the cell generates energy from foods, is important for the development of pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease.
Pulmonary hypertension is caused by the narrowing of the blood vessels in the lung, due to excessive growth of cells in the blood vessel wall. The cells grow in number until they obstruct the vessels, causing the heart to struggle pushing blood through the lungs to the point where the heart fails and the patient dies.
Evangelos Michelakis, a professor in the Department of Medicine and senior author of the study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, says in a sense, the cells grow uncontrollably, resembling cancer cells, with which they share many molecular features. He adds that many patients with pulmonary hypertension, without being obese or diabetic, have features of insulin resistance, as if they were diabetic. Those links with cancer and diabetes have puzzled researchers trying to understand what causes pulmonary hypertension in order to develop much needed therapies.
"We may have an answer to that," says Michelakis. "Our previous work had suggested that mitochondria, the organelles in the cell that regulate metabolism, are involved in the development of pulmonary hypertension, but we did not know exactly how. We also knew that mitochondria are involved in the development of both cancer and diabetes."
"So we looked at a key regulator of mitochondrial function, a protein called Sirtuin3," says Roxane Paulin, a postdoctoral fellow in Michelakis' laboratory and first author of the study. "We found that in lab models of pulmonary hypertension and, more importantly, in tissues from 160 patients, Sirtuin3 was present in lower amounts and was less active in lab models and patients with pulmonary hypertension than in those without the disease. We were intrigued to find that lab models that just lacked Sirtuin 3, developed pulmonary hypertension. The same models have been shown by other researchers to develop diabetes and cancer."
Michelakis believes that although there is still much work that needs to be done, this is the first proof of a link between pulmonary hypertension, cancer and diabetes. "This work offers strong support to the theory that pulmonary hypertension has a metabolic basis and may facilitate our efforts to diagnose and treat the disease."
"When we used gene therapy to deliver the missing Sirtuin 3 to the lungs of lab models of pulmonary hypertension with an inhaled virus, we found that the disease improved significantly two weeks later, opening the possibility for similar gene therapy approaches to patients," says Paulin.
Michelakis adds, "The fact that we found a variant Sirtuin 3 gene that produces a defective Sirtuin 3 protein, (which has also been found in patients with metabolic syndrome, a form of diabetes) in the blood cells of many patients with pulmonary hypertension, suggests that it may be easy to identify the precise patients that may benefit from gene therapy the future."
The research team included members of the Department of Medicine (medical student Peter Dromparis, graduate students Gopinath Sutendra and Sotirios Zervopoulos, cardiology resident Vikram Gurtu, technicians Lyndsay Bowers and Alois Haromy and nurse practitioner Linda Webster) as well as professors Steeve Provencher and Sebastien Bonnet from Laval University. The work was funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the University Hospital Foundation / Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute.
The Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada estimates that 10,000 Canadians are affected by the disease, which remains incurable. November marks "pulmonary hypertension awareness month" worldwide.
Ross Neitz | EurekAlert!
Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy