Familial hypercholesterolaemia: new genes found

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 […]

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Long QT syndrome mutations and intrauterine fetal death

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. […]

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Vascular stem cells and atherosclerosis

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 […]

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Novel cholesterol lowering agent shows promise

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. […]

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MicroRNA-214 attenuates ischaemia-reperfusion injury

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. […]

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Clarifying the role of nicotine in weight control

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 […]

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Differentiation of resident stem cell population improves cardiac function

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 […]

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Lipid metabolism by gut flora influences cardiovascular disease

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 […]

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Impaired monocyte recruitment leads to plaque stabilisation

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 […]

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2-year RESOLUTE data emphasise need for secondary prevention

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 […]

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