Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Atherosclerosis: Specific microRNAs promote inflammation

Date:
March 22, 2013
Source:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Summary:
Atherosclerosis, an inflammatory reaction, is at the root of the most common forms of cardiovascular disease. Researchers have now identified a microRNA that plays a prominent role in the process, and offers a promising target for new therapies.

Atherosclerosis, an inflammatory reaction, is at the root of the most common forms of cardiovascular disease. Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have now identified a microRNA that plays a prominent role in the process, and offers a promising target for new therapies.

Related Articles


Atherosclerosis -- otherwise known as hardening of the arteries -- is a prevalent cause of death in modern societies. The condition arises from the build-up of localized fatty deposits called plaques in the arteries. Macrophages, the phagocytic cells of the immune system, migrate to these sites, inducing chronic inflammation which exacerbates the accumulation of the atherosclerotic lesions. These can lead to obstruction of major vessels, causing heart attack and stroke. A team of medical researchers led by LMU's Professor Andreas Schober has now identified a microRNA (miRNA) that helps initiate the inflammatory process.

miRNAs are short segments of RNA derived from longer precursors transcribed from defined stretches of the genomic DNA. They act as versatile regulators of gene expression in cells, and also control the function of macrophages, in which patterns of gene activity must respond rapidly to changes in the extracellular environment. "However, the miRNAs that control the inflammation process during the various stages of atherosclerosis had not been identified up to now," says Schober.

In an earlier study, Schober and his team had shown that the microRNA miR-155 is a prominent member of the miRNA population in macrophages. The molecule prevents the synthesis of a protein that inhibits the inflammatory reaction, and thus promotes the progression of atherosclerosis. However, miR-155 does not serve as the initiator of inflammation. Schober and his colleagues have now looked at the patterns of microRNA expression in atherosclerotic lesions in the mouse, and noted that levels of a different miRNA, called miR-342-5p, increase in very early plaques.

New therapeutic approaches "The newly identified miR-342-5p is actually expressed constituently in macrophages, but it is activated by pro-inflammatory signals. This activation process then induces production of miR-155," Schober explains. The results of the new study thus make miR-342-5p an interesting target for new therapeutic agents. Indeed, in their animal model, the researchers have been able to demonstrate that inhibition of the action of miR-342-5p by means of a specific antagonist retards the progression of atherosclerosis.

"Atherosclerosis in humans should also be susceptible to treatment with inhibitors of microRNAs," Schober suggests. "Synthetic inhibitors are available for each and every microRNA, and could be used for therapeutic purposes as soon as their efficacy and safety has been demonstrated in clinical tests." Hence the researchers now plan to collaborate with biotechnology companies on the development of their own specific microRNA inhibitor for future clinical use.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Wei, M. Nazari-Jahantigh, L. Chan, M. Zhu, K. Heyll, J. Corbalan-Campos, P. Hartmann, A. Thiemann, C. Weber, A. Schober. The microRNA-342-5p Fosters Inflammatory Macrophage Activation Through an Akt1- and microRNA-155-Dependent Pathway during Atherosclerosis. Circulation, 2013; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.000736

Cite This Page:

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. "Atherosclerosis: Specific microRNAs promote inflammation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130322125347.htm>.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. (2013, March 22). Atherosclerosis: Specific microRNAs promote inflammation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130322125347.htm
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. "Atherosclerosis: Specific microRNAs promote inflammation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130322125347.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) — Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. 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