Scientists find key to repairing blood vessels

11 June 2014

The key to restoring the function of damaged blood vessel repairing cells has been discovered by scientists from the University of Leeds.

According to the research team, these findings are a potentially important step for the future of heart disease. The study could lay the foundations for the development of new drugs to fight against the condition. 

Scientists from the university have also identified a possible reason why South Asian men in the UK have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

The research team studied cells that can repair damaged blood vessels or form new ones in some cases. 

They discovered that cells grown from seemingly healthy young South Asian men were unable to repair or create new blood vessels, compared to a control group of white European men.

A protein known to be important in these processes - called Akt - was less active in South Asian men. By adding it back to the blood samples, cells were able to repair and create blood vessels. 

Dr Richard Cubbon, lead author of the study, commented: "This research gives hope that in the future it may be possible to enhance blood vessel repair by targeting these proteins. Knowing how to improve blood supply could one day help to mend hearts damaged after a heart attack.”

Posted by Edward Bartel

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