Progress toward new therapies for coronary artery disease

November 8, 2007

Coronary artery disease is a leading cause of mortality in Western countries. It cannot be cured. Recent research, led by Pilar Ruiz-Lozano, Ph.D., at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, may lead to new therapies for coronary artery disease. The research demonstrated that stimulation of the Wnt signaling pathway is essential for the formation of the coronary vasculature.

The Wnt pathways of secreted factors has been known previously to play a role in embryogenesis and development, and it also functions as a regulator of some stem cell populations.

Previous research by the team demonstrated that vitamin A signaling is necessary to the coronary progenitors and suggested that the action of vitamin A may be mediated, at least in part, by means of the activation of Wnt in the coronary progenitor cells.

The recent study provides hope for the millions of people affected by coronary disease. The group demonstrated that the mutation of the gene b-catenin (effector of the Wnt –signaling pathway), in a subset of cells destined to form the coronary vasculature, disrupts the formation of the vasculature of the heart in mammalian embryos. The mutation impairs differentiation of the vascular media, composed of smooth muscle cells.

In turn, activation of these cells with Wnt ligands results in increased vasculature and formation of smooth muscle cells. The work was published in PNAS and provides the groundwork for alternative approaches to the cure of coronary artery disease.

Source: Burnham Institute for Medical Research

Explore further: Mutation leads to combined hyperlipidemia; genetic targeting may reverse it

Related Stories

Mutation leads to combined hyperlipidemia; genetic targeting may reverse it

February 5, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A Yale study has identified the underlying genetic basis of combined hyperlipidemia, as well as a treatment that may normalize the condition. The study appears in Cell Metabolism.

Recommended for you

Pneumonia vaccine under development provides 'most comprehensive coverage' to date, alleviates antimicrobial concerns

October 20, 2017
In 2004, pneumonia killed more than 2 million children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. By 2015, the number was less than 1 million.

Newly discovered viral marker could help predict flu severity in infected patients

October 20, 2017
Flu viruses contain defective genetic material that may activate the immune system in infected patients, and new research published in PLOS Pathogens suggests that lower levels of these molecules could increase flu severity.

H7N9 influenza is both lethal and transmissible in animal model for flu

October 19, 2017
In 2013, an influenza virus that had never before been detected began circulating among poultry in China. It caused several waves of human infection and in late 2016, the number of people to become sick from the H7N9 virus ...

Flu simulations suggest pandemics more likely in spring, early summer

October 19, 2017
New statistical simulations suggest that Northern Hemisphere flu pandemics are most likely to emerge in late spring or early summer at the tail end of the normal flu season, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational ...

New insights into herpes virus could inform vaccine development

October 18, 2017
A team of scientists has discovered new insights into the mechanisms of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, as well as two antibodies that block the virus' entry into cells. The findings, published in Proceedings of the National ...

Pair of discoveries illuminate new paths to flu and anthrax treatments

October 17, 2017
Two recent studies led by biologists at the University of California San Diego have set the research groundwork for new avenues to treat influenza and anthrax poisoning.

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.