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Scientists discover genetic switch that increases muscle blood supply
Date:3/1/2011

and other cardiovascular diseases linked to defective blood supply."

Colin Barker, M.D., assistant professor of cardiology at the UTHealth Medical School, said new research is needed to help people with peripheral artery disease, particularly those with the most severe form - critical limb ischemia. "Poor circulation in the legs can lead to muscle wasting, infections, severe pain and amputation," he said. "Dr. Narkar's work potentially has many useful applications. It is very much in the translational medicine arena."

"Understanding the gene network that specifies high vascular supply to muscle gives us a new and very powerful tool to promote improved muscle performance and the promise of fitness, especially for those who cannot work out," says Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., senior author, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and professor in the Salk's Institute's Gene Expression Laboratory. "This is good news for people with heart disease, frailty, peripheral vascular disease and more generally those who have a variety of medical problems where exercise could be helpful but is not possible to achieve."

In 2010, an estimated 2.8 to 3.5 million U.S. citizens suffered from critical limb ischemia, according to a report by THE SAGE GROUP, an independent research and consulting company specializing in peripheral artery disease. CLI risk factors include diabetes, obesity and smoking.

"Exercise is an important part of any intervention strategy to prevent or treat diabetes mellitus and obesity," said Perry Bickel, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the UTHealth Medical School and director of the UTHealth Center for Diabetes and Obesity Research. "Results by Drs. Narkar and Evans support the notion that in the future we may be able to design drugs that produce the benefits of exercise in order to counteract the damage that diabetes and obesity cause to the body, such as blockages of blood vessels."

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Contact: Rob Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

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