Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protective proteins reduce damage to blood vessels

Date:
May 21, 2014
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Proteins found in our blood can reduce damage caused to blood vessels as we age, and in conditions such as atherosclerosis and arthritis, new research finds. Calcification is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Blood vessels can harden as calcium phosphate (CaP) crystals, normally found in bones and teeth, build up in soft tissue as we age or as a result of illness. This can lead to complications in patients with atherosclerosis, a major cause of death whereby arteries thicken and are at risk of becoming blocked.

Calcium phosphate crystals (needle-shaped, indicated by arrows) being engulfed by a human vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC).
Credit: Babraham Institute

Researchers have uncovered how proteins found in our blood can reduce damage caused to blood vessels as we age, and in conditions such as atherosclerosis and arthritis.

Related Articles


Calcification is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Blood vessels can harden as calcium phosphate (CaP) crystals, normally found in bones and teeth, build up in soft tissue as we age or as a result of illness. This can lead to complications in patients with atherosclerosis, a major cause of death in the UK whereby arteries thicken and are at risk of becoming blocked.

However a team of scientists at the BBSRC-funded Babraham Institute has discovered how CaP damages vessels, and how proteins normally found in our circulation can help prevent this process.

In the study funded by the British Heart Foundation, researchers found that small CaP crystals were being consumed by blood vessel cells, resulting in abnormally high levels of calcium ions, which can prove toxic.

They discovered that two proteins in the blood, fetuin-A and albumin, can slow down the uptake of CaP crystals by blood vessel cells, reducing the release of calcium ions and protecting against damage.

Dr Diane Proudfoot, who led the study, explained: "Small changes in calcium levels within a cell controls many aspects of normal cell function. However, when calcium levels become excessive, the cell can die. By delaying the uptake of these crystals and reducing the release of calcium ions, proteins fetuin-A and albumin can help to keep calcium ions at a safe level."

The research, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, offers potential to develop treatments to prevent and reduce the damaging effects of CaP crystals.

Dr Proudfoot added: "Interestingly, lower levels of these proteins have been observed in patients with chronic kidney disease who can suffer a higher level of mortality due to cardiovascular disease. In the future, there is potential to use fetuin-A that has been artificially created or extracted from blood as a treatment for patients with low levels of this protein."

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC Executive Director for Science, said: "BBSRC-funded science helps us to explore the biological processes that underpin our health. This research provides important insights into healthy aging and may lead to therapeutic strategies to prevent the problems associated with calcification in aging and several diseases."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yana Dautova, Diana Kozlova, Jeremy N. Skepper, Matthias Epple, Martin D. Bootman, Diane Proudfoot. Fetuin-A and Albumin Alter Cytotoxic Effects of Calcium Phosphate Nanoparticles on Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (5): e97565 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097565

Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Protective proteins reduce damage to blood vessels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180026.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2014, May 21). Protective proteins reduce damage to blood vessels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180026.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Protective proteins reduce damage to blood vessels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521180026.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak that began at Disneyland and has now infected more than 90 people. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) President Obama is expected to speak with drugmakers Friday about his Precision Medicine Initiative first introduced last week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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