Enzyme is key to clogged arteries

September 24, 2009

Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have made an important discovery in understanding what causes arteries to clog up.

They have discovered that an called matrix metalloproteinase-8 plays a crucial role in raising blood pressure and causing abnormal build-up of cells in the arteries - both of which increase the risk of heart disease.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the UK. The scientists say that their research could lead to new drugs for treating high blood pressure and preventing heart disease.

Shu Ye, Professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics at Queen Mary, University of London led the study. He explained: "Our research tells us that this enzyme plays a crucial role in the build-up of in the arteries which causes heart disease.

"Many patients with high blood pressure or are currently treated with ACE inhibitor drugs. However, some patients do not respond sufficiently to ACE inhibitors alone. We hope that what we've found here could be the basis for new drugs that can enhance the effects of ACE inhibitors, which would reduce deaths from ."

The researchers studied mice which were genetically altered so they could not produce the MMP8 enzyme. The mice were fed on a Western-style diet high in fat and cholesterol and compared to normal mice fed on the same diet. The mice which lacked the enzyme had clearer arteries and lower .

The researchers also studied 2,000 patients who were being tested for clogs in arteries leading to their hearts with a test called a coronary angiogram. They found that around 25 per cent of these patients had a slightly different version of the gene for MMP8 and their were more clogged than other patients.

More information: Circulation Research (doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.109.200279).

Source: Queen Mary, University of London (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Artificial beta cells

December 8, 2016

Researchers led by ETH Professor Martin Fussenegger at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel have produced artificial beta cells using a straightforward engineering approach.

Key regulator of bone development identified

December 8, 2016

Loss of a key protein leads to defects in skeletal development including reduced bone density and a shortening of the fingers and toes—a condition known as brachydactyly. The discovery was made by researchers at Penn State ...

Researchers question lifelong immunity to toxoplasmosis

December 8, 2016

Medical students are taught that once infected with Toxoplasma gondii—the "cat parasite"—then you're protected from reinfection for the rest of your life. This dogma should be questioned, argue researchers in an Opinion ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.