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Molecular Cardiology

Familial hypercholesterolaemia: new genes found

22 May, 13 | by Alistair Lindsay

Familial hypercholesterolaemia is characterised by substantially raised plasma concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and is associated with a risk of coronary heart disease that is five to eight times higher than average. One charity has estimated a saving of £378.7 million from cardiovascular events avoided if all relatives of index cases were identified and treated optimally over 55 years of age. more…

Long QT syndrome mutations and intrauterine fetal death

21 Apr, 13 | by Alistair Lindsay

Intrauterine fetal death occurs in approximately 1 in every 160 pregnancies; postmortem evaluation often fails to find an underlying cause.  The objective of this paper was to determine the spectrum and prevalence of mutations in the three most common Long QT syndrome (LQTS) susceptible genes in a cohort of cases of unexplained intrauterine death. more…

Vascular stem cells and atherosclerosis

21 Oct, 12 | by Alistair Lindsay

The development of atherosclerotic diseases involves the proliferation and migration of a variety of cell types.  It has been generally accepted that vascular smooth muscle cells in the arterial wall play a crucial role in this process through a process of ‘de-differentiation’ from a normal contractile phenotype to a proliferative and synthetic state that drives remodelling and disease development.  In this study, Tang et al re-examine this paradigm and provide compelling evidence to challenge the status quo.  more…

Novel cholesterol lowering agent shows promise

19 Sep, 12 | by Alistair Lindsay

Serum PCSK9 plays an active role in controlling the expression of LDL receptors by targeting them for lysosomal destruction.  REGN727/SAR236553 (REGN727) is a novel human monoclonal antibody which inhibits PCSK9 binding to the LDL receptor; a previous phase 1 proof of concept trial suggested the potential for significant reductions in LDL in familial hypercholesterolaemia. more…

MicroRNA-214 attenuates ischaemia-reperfusion injury

4 Jun, 12 | by Alistair Lindsay

Ischaemia reperfusion injury (IR) is characterised by  abnormal increases in intracellular calcium during myocardial reperfusion that lead to cardiomyocyte death.  In addition, IR is accompanied by an increase in the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) such as miR-214, which has previously been identified as a sensitive marker of cardiac stress. more…

Clarifying the role of nicotine in weight control

12 Jul, 11 | by Alistair Lindsay

Despite the impressive gains in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality that have occurred over the past decades, a veritable elephant still exists in the room in the shape of the tidal wave of obesity sweeping the globe, which may reverse these advances.  Obesity has proved fundamentally difficult to manage, with few therapies demonstrating sustained weight loss over time be they pharmacological or behavioural.  Paradoxically, that other great modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, smoking, is highly effective at controlling weight, with smokers having notably lower BMIs than non-smokers, some smokers smoking as a method of weight control and weight gain being common when quitting.  These anorexic effects have been attributed to nicotine as it effectively decreases feeding in animal models, but while nicotine has some effect on peripheral energy metabolism, little is known about its effect on central pathways determining food intake and body mass. more…

Differentiation of resident stem cell population improves cardiac function

12 Jul, 11 | by Alistair Lindsay

The quest to regenerate functional myocardium from stem cells following myocardial infarction has garnered a great deal of media attention and has become something of a holy grail in cardiovascular medicine.  Despite the basic science of stem cells still being at an early stage, the first human trials have already been conducted – but the results thus far have been neutral at best with little or no evidence of clinical benefit.  A significant bottleneck is the identification of a viable source of stem/progenitor cells that could contribute new muscle with the therapeutic ideal being to stimulate a resident source, thus avoiding the caveats of limited graft survival, restricted homing to the site of injury and host immune rejection. more…

Lipid metabolism by gut flora influences cardiovascular disease

2 Jul, 11 | by Alistair Lindsay

Although the relationship between cholesterol, triglycerides, and cardiovascular disease is well established, little is known about the role of the third major class of lipids – phospholipids.  In this regard, the intestinal microflora play a crucial role in that they digest and absorb many crucial nutrients, including lipids.  Therefore in this study the authors attempted to discover whether a link exists between gut-flora-dependent phospholipid metabolism and atherosclerosis risk through generation of pro-atherosclerotic metabolites. more…

Impaired monocyte recruitment leads to plaque stabilisation

28 Apr, 11 | by Alistair Lindsay

Recruitment of monocytes into atherosclerotic plaque has been shown to drive disease progression, and the presence of a higher number of macrophages has been associated with increased plaque vulnerability.  Conversely, a reduction in plaque macrophage content has been associated with plaque stabilisation; however, it has not previously been described exactly how macrophages are  removed from plaques, for example in the context of statin therapy.

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2-year RESOLUTE data emphasise need for secondary prevention

5 Apr, 11 | by Alistair Lindsay

The RESOLUTE All Comers trial showed that the Resolute zotarolimus-eluting stent was non-inferior to the Xience V everolimus eluting stent in terms of target lesion failure (revascularisation, myocardial infarction, or cardiac death).  However, long-term follow-up data from drug-eluting stent trials are generally scarce.  Silber et al. report the 2-year clinical outcomes from the original RESOLUTE trial. more…

Highlighted articles from non-cardiological journals relevant to cardiology.

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