Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecule that can increase blood flow in vascular disease identified

Date:
April 21, 2011
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that a molecule called Wnt1 can improve the function of endothelial progenitor cells, increasing the blood flow to organs that previously had been cut off from the circulation.

Human endothelial progenitor cells grown in the lab (left) and forming capillary tube like structures (right).
Credit: Image courtesy of University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Circulating through the bloodstream of every human being is a rare and powerful type of cell, one that can actually create new blood vessels to bypass blockages that cause heart attacks and peripheral artery disease. Though everyone has these cells -- called endothelial progenitor cells -- they are often dysfunctional in people prone to vascular disease.

Now researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered that a molecule -- called Wnt1 -- can improve the function of endothelial progenitor cells, increasing the blood flow to organs that previously had been cut off from the circulation. The finding could enhance clinical trials already testing these powerful cells in patients hospitalized with cardiac arrest.

"The premise of these trials is that these cells will supply the ischemic organ with new blood vessels and allow the damaged organ to function better," said senior study author Arjun Deb, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the UNC School of Medicine. "But because you are isolating these cells from the patients themselves, you know that the cells are dysfunctional -- so the approach is almost flawed from the very beginning. We want to see how we can improve the function of these cells so they can do their job better."

The study, published online Feb. 14, 2011, in the FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Journal, is the first to show that the Wnt1 protein, one of a family of 19 such molecules, can stimulate blood vessel formation.

A number of studies in the past few years have suggested that genes that play an important role during early development and get "turned off" during adulthood may also get "turned on" or expressed again in response to injury, such as heart attack.

Deb, who studies the Wnt family of developmental genes, looked to see if any of its members follow this same pattern. He found that one gene in particular, Wnt1, was expressed during development of blood vessels, shut off during adulthood and then re-expressed in angiosarcoma, a cancer of endothelial cells.

Deb wanted to see what would happen if he put the Wnt1 protein on human endothelial progenitor cells. He found that treating these special cells with Wnt1 not only greatly increased their function but also their number. Next, Deb and his colleagues investigated what effect the protein would have on a mouse model of peripheral artery disease, an illness in humans caused by decreased blood flow to the extremities. They found that treating these animals with a single injection of the Wnt1 protein resulted in almost three fold increase in blood flow in the affected areas.

"We found that Wnt1 is a novel proangiogenic molecule, something that has never been shown before," said Deb. "It gives us hope that injecting the Wnt1 protein -- or molecules that stimulate the Wnt1 signaling pathway -- into ischemic tissues in humans could improve blood flow and assert a therapeutic effect."

Approximately 1 in 4 deaths in adults in the US are secondary to heart disease and as many as 15 percent of Americans age 65 and older have peripheral artery disease. In the future, Deb plans to use his findings to identify such small molecules or drug candidates that could reverse the endothelial progenitor cell dysfunction observed in so many patients with vascular disease.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Ellison Medical Foundation. Study co-authors were Costin M. Gherghe, MD, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in Deb's lab; Jinzhu Duan, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in Deb's lab; Jucheng Gong, lab manager in Deb's lab; Mauricio Rojas, MD, MPH, director of mouse cardiovascular models core lab; Nancy Klauber-Demore, MD, associate professor of surgery; and Mark Majesky, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. M. Gherghe, J. Duan, J. Gong, M. Rojas, N. Klauber-Demore, M. Majesky, A. Deb. Wnt1 is a proangiogenic molecule, enhances human endothelial progenitor function, and increases blood flow to ischemic limbs in a HGF-dependent manner. The FASEB Journal, 2011; DOI: 10.1096/fj.10-172981

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Molecule that can increase blood flow in vascular disease identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310112317.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2011, April 21). Molecule that can increase blood flow in vascular disease identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310112317.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Molecule that can increase blood flow in vascular disease identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310112317.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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