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Protein is potential new treatment target for adult pulmonary hypertension
Date:10/17/2011

l as lungs removed from patients getting a transplant, the researchers found elevated levels of calpain. When they blocked its action by giving an inhibitor or removing its gene, TGFbeta was not activated and vascular remodeling and scarring as well as the heart damage were prevented. "The pulmonary process was close to normal," Su said.

Next steps include seeing whether the calpain inhibitor can stop cell proliferation and collagen synthesis in lung cells removed during a biopsy. Toxicology studies also will be needed before looking toward clinical trials, Su said.

He noted that a calpain inhibitor is likely not feasible for children because of the protein's importance in development. He envisions an inhalable version of the inhibitor to minimize any side effects in adults.

Su's earlier studies helped define calpain's role in cell proliferation when he found that lung cells in culture healed just fine after being cut until he added the calpain inhibitor. The work was published in 2006 in the The FASEB Journal. Su suspected then that calpain also had a role in pulmonary hypertension.


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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