Changes in blood flow pattern, such as from plaque build-up in the arteries, initiate a cascade of conflicting signals. Some responses damage the blood vessel, while others heal it.
A new study in American Journal of Physiology -- Heart and Circulatory Physiology identifies the involvement of a protective response pathway, the heme oxygenase system, that has potential as a new therapeutic strategy for cardiovascular diseases.
In the study, researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., demonstrated that reducing blood flow activated the heme oxygenase genes. Activation of the genes enlarged the artery to restore blood flow and mitigated the blood vessel injury that follows blood flow pattern changes.
This study is the first to demonstrate the importance of the heme oxygenase system in responding to changes in blood flow pattern and the possibility of using it to treat cardiovascular diseases, the researchers wrote.
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