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Heart Protein Regulates Blood Vessel Maintenance

Date:
May 14, 2009
Source:
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Summary:
Researchers have identified a protein that regulates the physical state of blood vessels. The biochemical processes involved in this regulation are important in the study of cardiovascular health.

In a study led by Akiko Hata, PhD, of Tufts University School of Medicine, researchers have shown that a protein expressed in the heart, FHL2, inhibits the genes necessary for the quiescence of vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs), which line blood vessels. Vascular smooth muscle cells undergo a process in diseases such as atherosclerosis or normal tissue damage caused by balloon angioplasty where they transition between a resting and proliferative state.

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The ability to transition between the two states is necessary for the normal development of blood vessels, regulating blood pressure, and repairing vessels that suffer from injury.

“By understanding the pathways that modulate vSMCs, we are closer to being able to develop reagents to ameliorate abnormal function of blood vessels,” says Hata, associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the biochemistry program faculty at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.
The researchers have previously shown that BMPs (Bone Morphogenetic Proteins) play a role in the maintenance of smooth muscle cells in the pulmonary artery. In this study, the research demonstrates that FHL2 (Four-and-a-Half LIM Domain Protein 2) inhibits activation of genes that are involved in contraction of smooth muscle cells by at least one of the BMPs.
“We also found that FHL2 is important in the regulation of vasomotor tone, or the contraction and relaxation of muscles in the blood vessel. This is important because dysfunction in vasomotor tone is thought to cause high blood pressure. Our study demonstrates that FHL2 is essential in modulating the physical state of vSMCs, which is essential in regulating vascular motor function,” says Hata.
First author Nicole Neuman is a graduate student in the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts and is a member of the Molecular Signaling Laboratory at the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (MCRI) at Tufts Medical Center.
Senior author Akiko Hata, PhD, is also the director of the Molecular Signaling Laboratory at the MCRI at Tufts Medical Center.
This study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University, Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Neuman et al. The Four-and-a-half LIM Domain Protein 2 Regulates Vascular Smooth Muscle Phenotype and Vascular Tone. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2009; 284 (19): 13202 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M900282200

Cite This Page:

Tufts University, Health Sciences. "Heart Protein Regulates Blood Vessel Maintenance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511122414.htm>.
Tufts University, Health Sciences. (2009, May 14). Heart Protein Regulates Blood Vessel Maintenance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511122414.htm
Tufts University, Health Sciences. "Heart Protein Regulates Blood Vessel Maintenance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511122414.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

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