Molecular Imaging of Atherosclerosis using MRI

Using invasive imaging techniques such as intra-vascular ultrasound, the burden of atherosclerotic plaque disease in any given individual has previously been shown to correlate with the likelihood of future cardivascular events .  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has the advantage of being non-invasive and, compared to other currently available molecular imaging modalities, it has good spatial […]

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9p21 link to coronary disease clarified

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are examining the human genome in ever-greater depth in the hope of finding common variants that explain the heritability associated with common diseases such as coronary artery disease.  Despite the ever increasing scale of these big-science ‘super-projects’ with literally tens of thousands of cases and controls, only a small proportion of […]

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New genetic loci for MI and atherosclerosis found

Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several novel loci associated with coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction, however these represent only a small proportion of the inherited component of these disorders.  Furthermore, it is not clear whether these loci contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, or whether they may influence the stability of atherosclerotic […]

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p53, microRNAs, and myocardial infarction

MicroRNAs (miRNA) are short nucleotide chains that act as inhibitors of gene expression.  Specifically, miR-499 is a cardiac-abundant microRNA that can prevent cardiomyocyte apoptosis by targeting calcineurin-mediated activation of Drp1, an enzyme that normally results in fission of mitochondrial tubules into fragments.  miR-499 may therefore have a key role to play following myocardial infarction, as […]

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Gene profiling to detect transplant rejection

While 1-year survival rates after cardiac transplantation are now of the order of 90%, approximately 30-40% of recipients suffer an episode of acute cellular rejection during their first year, and then at a reduced rate thereafter.  Endomyocardial biopsy remains the standard method of monitoring for rejection in recipients of a cardiac transplant but is uncomfortable […]

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Coronary arteries form from reprogramming of venous cells

The cellular and developmental origins of the coronary arteries remain relatively poorly studied; determining how coronary vessels arise during development, are maintained in adult life, and remodel under pathological conditions could further our understanding of diseases such as atherosclerosis. In the paper Red-Horse et al. carried out anatomical and histological analysis of coronary vessel development […]

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Mystery of 9p21 link to arterial disease begins to unravel

The strongest genomic link to premature coronary artery disease (CAD) currently known involves a sequence polymorphism in a 58-kilobase (kb) interval on chromosome 9p21.  However, exactly how polymorphisms in this area led to CAD has until now remained a mystery, as the region in question does not contain any protein-coding genes. […]

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New molecular switch linked to hypertrophy

Myocardial hypertrophy is a response to environmental stress that allows augmentation of pump function and reduces wall stress.  Importantly, the transition from hypertrophy to heart failure is associated with a decrease in cardiac contractility, ventricular remodeling and fibrosis, and myocyte loss. One of the most highly characterized hypertrophic signaling cascades involves the calcium dependent serine/threonine […]

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Carbon-dating suggests spontaneous cardiomyocyte renewal in humans

When cardiac muscle is lost, the heart mostly heals through the formation of scar tissue.Although the heart cannot undergo large-scale tissue regeneration, stem/progenitor cells with the potential to generate cardiomyocytes in vitro remain in the adult human myocardium, and mature cardiomyocytes have been suggested to have the ability to re-enter the cell cycle and duplicate. […]

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Novel enzyme inhibitor shows promise for atherosclerosis inhibition

Secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) enzymes are involved in the production of bioactive lipids that contribute to atherosclerosis. They are highly expressed in human and mouse atherosclerosis, and different groups of the enzyme contribute differently to atherosclerosis. A-002 (1-H-indole-3-glyoxamide, veraslpadib methyl, Anthera pharmaceuticals, CA) is a novel inhibitor of sPLA2 in humand with specificity towards sPLA2-I1A, […]

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