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Genes Identified To Protect Heart Muscles

o express the HO-1 protein in the cells. The cells were then exposed to high levels of hydrogen peroxide and their survival was monitored over 48 hours. Cells over-expressing HO-1 were seen to have a remarkable ability to escape apoptosis, a form of cell suicide, even after being exposed to toxic levels of hydrogen peroxide. ‘A strategy aimed at protecting smooth muscle from undergoing apoptosis is a logical therapeutic target for plaque stabilization. One such approach may heed our findings and use gene therapy to deliver the HO-1 gene to the atherosclerotic plaques,’ says Dr. Melo.

‘Our laboratory is actively pursuing the development and preclinical testing of these new gene therapies using sophisticated viral vector systems, which are highly responsive to the pathological conditions of the plaque itself. Although the possibility of using these experimental therapies in the clinical setting is years away, we believe that we are in the right path, and one worth pursuing, considering the devastating socio economic effects of this disease.’ Protection of Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells From H202-induced Apoptosis through Functional Codependence between HO-1 and AKT will appear in the September issue of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, the official journal of the Council in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology of the American Heart Association.

Source: Eurekaert
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