Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Progenitor Cells Predict Heart Disease Severity

10.03.2004


Duke University Medical Center researchers have uncovered a strong relationship between the severity of heart disease and the level of endothelial progenitor cells circulating in the bloodstream. This relationship, if confirmed by ongoing studies, could represent an important new diagnostic and therapeutic target for the treatment of coronary artery disease, they said.


Geoffrey Kunz, M.D.



These endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) are produced in the bone marrow, and one of their roles is to repair damage to the lining of blood vessels. Duke cardiologists believe that one cause of coronary artery disease is an increasing inability over time of these EPCs to keep up with the damage caused to the arterial lining, or endothelium.

"In our study we found that patients with multi-vessel disease had many fewer EPCs, which supports our hypothesis that these cells play an important role in protecting blood vessels," said cardiologist Geoffrey Kunz, M.D., of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. "If you don’t have enough of the cells, the ongoing damage to the endothelium from traditional risk factors occurs faster than the body’s ability for repair."


Kunz presented the results of the Duke analysis March 9, 2004, at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology.

In an article published last year in Circulation (July 29, 2003), Duke researchers reported discovering in mouse studies that a major outcome of aging is an unexpected failure of the bone marrow to produce EPCs needed to repair and rejuvenate arteries exposed to a genetically induced risk of high lipid levels. The researchers demonstrated that an age-related loss of these particular cells is critical to determining the onset and progression of atherosclerosis, which causes arteries to clog and become less elastic.

For the current study, the researchers measured the levels of EPCs in 122 patients undergoing diagnostic cardiac catheterization procedures at Duke and correlated those findings with the severity of coronary artery disease. Specifically, they determined how many of the coronary arteries showed signs of atherosclerosis.

The average age of the patient sample was 58, with 37 percent of them having multi-vessel disease, 29 percent having diabetes and 20 percent having had a recent heart attack.

The researchers removed EPCs from the blood samples and grew them in cell culture to determine how many of the cells would grow. The number of cells is measured as colony-forming units (CFU).

"We found that the patients with multi-vessel disease had significantly lower EPC counts than those without -- 13 CFU vs. 41.7 CFU," Kunz said. "Additionally, for every 10 CFU increase in EPC level, a patient’s likelihood for multi-vessel disease declined by 20 percent."

While the EPC levels did not vary significantly by age, gender or other risk factors, the researchers found that the levels were lower for diabetics (19 CFU vs. 36 CFU) and for patients who had suffered a recent heart attack (23 CFU vs. 34 CFU).

"These findings demonstrate a strong inverse relationship between circulating EPCs and coronary artery disease, independent of traditional disease risk factors," Kunz said.

The researchers said that it might ultimately be possible to forestall or even prevent development of atherosclerosis by injecting these cells into patients or by retraining the patient’s own stem cells to differentiate into progenitor cells capable of arterial repair.

While the direct clinical use of stem cells as a treatment might be many years off, the researchers said it is likely that strategies currently used to reduce the risks for heart disease -- such as lifestyle modifications and/or different medications -- preserve these rejuvenating cells for a longer period of time, which delays the onset of atherosclerosis.

"On the diagnostic front, it may be possible to take blood samples from a young person, and depending on measurements of the EPC levels, begin taking actions early that prevent the depletion of EPCs," Kunz said. "These cells might also be able to forestall the development of congestive heart failure in patients who have suffered a heart attack. In these ways, EPCs can play an important role in both primary and secondary prevention."

Other members of the Duke team were Grace Liang, Florim Cuculoski, David Gregg, M.D., Korkut Vata, Pascal Goldschmidt, M.D., Chumming Dong, M.D., Doris Taylor, Ph.D., and Eric Peterson, M.D.

Richard Merritt | dukemed news
Further information:
http://dukemednews.org/news/article.php?id=7451

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>