Loss of gene expression may trigger cardiovascular disease, researchers find

November 30, 2012 by Helen Dodson

(Medical Xpress)—A Yale-led team of researchers has uncovered a genetic malfunction that may lead to hardening of the arteries and other forms of cardiovascular disease. The study appears in the journal Cell Reports.

Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), which spur the formation of new tissue and cells, have also recently emerged as key regulators of the vascular system. In studies of mice, the Yale team found that disruption of the FGF signaling process to the endothelium—the innermost lining of the heart and blood vessels—caused a state of FGF resistance and a cascade of other signaling malfunctions. Key among these malfunctions was a transition from endothelial to connective tissue, known as Endo-MT, which drove the formation of scar tissue build-up in the vessels—a condition called neointima.

Neointima formation underlies a number of common diseases, including narrowing of arteries and other valves after angioplasty or stent implantation, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and .

The researchers also found that one cause of the reduction in expression and activation of the FGF signaling cascade was vessel wall inflammation, which leads to in transplantation.

"Our research shows that the loss of FGF signaling, and resulting state of FGF resistance, is clearly associated with inflammation, and is caused by the expression of key ," said senior author Dr. Michael Simons, professor of cell biology at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center. "This triggers the occurrence of Endo-MT, and buildup of scar tissue in the vessel wall, valves, and other tissues."

"Our results demonstrate that FGF signaling is required to maintain proper vascular homeostasis pathways, and suppression of formation of in vessels and tissue. The loss of FGF signaling input may be the root cause of a number most common ," explained Simons.

Explore further: Stopping cell migration may help block fibrosis and the spread of cancer

Related Stories

Stopping cell migration may help block fibrosis and the spread of cancer

May 21, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Discoveries by a Yale-led team of scientists could lead the way for development of new therapies for treating fibrosis and tumor metastasis. The researchers have both uncovered a signaling pathway that ...

Extending the effective lifetime of stents

October 6, 2011
Implanted stents can reopen obstructed arteries, but regrowth of cells into the vessel wall can entail restenosis. Research at LMU now shows that an antimicrobial peptide inhibits restenosis and promotes vascular healing. ...

Recommended for you

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

July 18, 2017
Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its ...

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.