New attempt to slow down heart disease

Posted Jan 6, 2014 by Tim Sandle
Researchers have developed a potential treatment for atherosclerosis that targets a master controller protein, which appears to trigger the process.
Photograph of a heart model  with position of a persistent ductus arteriosus drawn in between aorta ...
Photograph of a heart model, with position of a persistent ductus arteriosus drawn in between aorta and pulmonary artery.
Wikipedia file
Atherosclerosis is where an artery wall thickens as a result of the accumulation of calcium and fatty materials such as cholesterol and triglyceride. The effect can be cause of heart attacks. Clinically, atherosclerosis is typically associated with men over the age of 45.
Researchers have detected a micro RNA molecule which helps to the power cells that line the blood vessels. MicroRNAs have been shown to be involved in a wide range of biological processes such as cell cycle control, apoptosis and several developmental and physiological processes including stem cell differentiation, hematopoiesis, hypoxia, cardiac and skeletal muscle development, neurogenesis, insulin secretion, cholesterol metabolism, aging, immune responses and viral replication.
Micro RNA molecules were recently discovered to be able to travel from cell to cell, and thus could orchestrate processes such as atherosclerosis.
By targeting these cells, researchers have developed a treatment. The treatment works by stopping the inflammatory effects of disturbed blood flow on cells that line blood vessels. This is in the form of a drug that blocks the micro RNA can stop arteries from becoming blocked, despite the on-going stress of high-fat diet.
The effect of the new treatment was shown in mice. Human trials have yet to take place.
The research was undertaken at Emory and Georgia Tech. The findings have been reported in the journal Nature Communications, in a paper titled “The atypical mechanosensitive microRNA-712 derived from pre-ribosomal RNA induces endothelial inflammation and atherosclerosis.”