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New mechanism explains how the body prevents formation of blood vessels
Date:11/11/2009

at it serves as one of the body's own angiogenesis inhibitors.

The HRG fragment in question inhibits angiogenesis by binding to endothelial cells, which participate in the formation of blood vessels. Analysis of a large number of human tissue samples allowed the researchers to determine that the HRG fragment binds to blood vessels in cancer patients but not in healthy persons. The study also showed that the HRG fragment binds to blood vessels in the presence of activated platelets, blood cells that limit bleeding in the event of injury. This finding is interesting in view of the fact that cancer patients often exhibit high levels of platelet activation.

"Our findings suggest that attempting to inhibit angiogenesis is an aspect of the body's own reaction to diseases like cancer," says Anna-Karin Olsson. "The activated platelets create a microenvironment in which the HRG fragment is able to function as an angiogenesis inhibitor."

Data from so-called "knockout" mice, which lack HRG, support this conclusion. The mice are healthy and fertile, but exhibit high levels of angiogenesis in connection with tumor growth. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that the mice lack an angiogenesis inhibitor.

"Our data describes an entirely new mechanism of action for an endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor," says Anna-Karin Olsson. "This knowledge may eventually help in developing new, more effective drugs for inhibiting angiogenesis during disease treatment without affecting healthy vessels."


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Contact: Anna-Karin Olsson
nna-Karin.Olsson@imbim.uu.se
46-184-714-399
Uppsala University
Source:Eurekalert

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