Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Good Guy' Blood Cells Are Now Suspects In Heart Disease, Diabetes

Date:
May 13, 2004
Source:
University Of Rochester Medical Center
Summary:
Until recently, the story on platelets was pretty simple: tiny blood cells, with limited sophistication because they had no nucleus, and their claim to fame was to be a first-responder to a wound site, to promote healthy clotting and prevent infection. Later scientists theorized platelets might be connected to harmful chronic inflammation, but the links were unclear.

Until recently, the story on platelets was pretty simple: tiny blood cells, with limited sophistication because they had no nucleus, and their claim to fame was to be a first-responder to a wound site, to promote healthy clotting and prevent infection. Later scientists theorized platelets might be connected to harmful chronic inflammation, but the links were unclear.

In a paper published in the prestigious scientific journal Blood, a team of University of Rochester researchers opened a new frontier for platelets. They believe the platelet is the pivotal link between inflammation, heart disease and stroke - and may even be a key cell in the body that promotes diabetic complications, the origin of which remains unknown.

Furthermore, the team found that when platelets change from "good guys" to inflammatory villains, they could be doused with a common Type II diabetes drug that was developed to make tissue more insulin sensitive, but acts as an anti-inflammatory agent on platelets. This finding may offer a new way to use anti-diabetic drugs beyond diabetes treatment, or lead to the development of a new generation of drugs that target platelets.

The results came as a laboratory surprise during a broader investigation of platelets and inflammation, led by corresponding author Richard Phipps, Ph.D., University of Rochester Medical Center professor and director of the Lung Biology and Disease Program. Co-authors include Neil Blumberg, M.D., director of the university's Strong Memorial Hospital Blood Bank and professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Charles W. Francis, M.D., an authority on vascular disease and a UR professor of Medicine; graduate student Denise Ray, blood bank specialist Kelly F. Gettings, and Filize Akbiyik, M.D., a visiting scientist.

"Our findings totally shift the way we view platelets," Phipps says. "Normally non-nucleated cells have limited capabilities, but we now believe that platelets are far more complex than was thought."

Chronic inflammation is a major concern in medicine. Doctors are trying to understand, for example, why some individuals suffer heart attacks even though they do not have major heart blockages - and inflammation may be the answer. In fact, many chronic cardiovascular diseases suffered by millions of Americans are linked to inflammation, and scientists are rushing to determine which cells are the culprits.

"This new finding has the potential to be a homerun, in the sense that it suggests a new pathway between inflammation and disease," says Blumberg. "But importantly, it's a pathway that we know already responds to a licensed drug. To use a spring yard work analogy, it's like realizing one day that although you've been using one tool on your lawn, another one hanging in your garage can dramatically contribute to the job, even though no one would suspect it."

Phipps' lab specializes in investigating the biomarkers for inflammation. In experiments on human platelet samples, they discovered that platelets express PPARg, a transcription factor that was believed to be expressed only by cells with a nucleus. Activation of the PPARg protein by certain anti-diabetic drugs blunts the ability of platelets to release pro-inflammatory mediators and to form clots. Studies are continuing on how PPARg alters platelet function, and the group hopes to launch clinical research to test whether anti-diabetic drugs dampen the inflammatory activity, and can be used to prevent or treat vascular disease.

Funds for the investigation came from the UR; additional grants from the National Institutes of Health are being sought.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rochester Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rochester Medical Center. "'Good Guy' Blood Cells Are Now Suspects In Heart Disease, Diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040512043721.htm>.
University Of Rochester Medical Center. (2004, May 13). 'Good Guy' Blood Cells Are Now Suspects In Heart Disease, Diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040512043721.htm
University Of Rochester Medical Center. "'Good Guy' Blood Cells Are Now Suspects In Heart Disease, Diabetes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040512043721.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins