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Double duty: Loss of protective heart failure protein causes high blood pressure
Date:5/5/2008

(PHILADELPHIA) Scientists at the Center for Translational Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have found that a protein that appears to have protective and perhaps healing effects for failing hearts also plays a similar role in high blood pressure. They found lower-than-normal levels of the protein S100A1 in cells that line blood vessel walls in animals with high blood pressure.

When the researchers, led by Patrick Most, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College and former postdoctoral fellow Sven Pleger, M.D., experimentally lowered the amount of S100A1 protein in the animals blood vessels, they were able to dramatically increase blood pressure. The preliminary results identified a novel and rather unanticipated biological function of the protein and suggest that S100A1 could be a therapeutic target for blood pressure treatment. The teams findings appear in the journal Circulation Research.

S100A1 seems to be a major player in the regulation of blood pressure and vascular function, says Dr. Most. The mechanisms by which this works is by producing more nitric oxide (NO) in the endothelial cells that line the vessel walls. A lack of NO enables hypertension.

According to Dr. Most, S100A1 is an alternative mechanism for increasing heart function. It directly regulates calcium circulation, which drives the contractions in the heart. Dr. Mosts laboratory has been working on S100A1s role in disease hearts for more than a decade, and together with a group led by Walter Koch, Ph.D, director of the Center for Translational Medicine, they have proven that loss of the protein causes diseased hearts to fail and that the protein is a potential target for gene therapy for heart failure.

S100A1, part of a larger family of proteins called S100, is primarily found at high levels in muscle, particularly the heart. Falling levels of S100A1 are critical in the loss of heart-pumping strength af
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Contact: Steve Benowitz
steven.benowitz@jefferson.edu
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

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