Researchers unmask new culprit behind heart disease

April 21st, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, April 21 (IANS) Australian researchers have unmasked a molecule behind heart diseases - one the biggest killers in the developed world. The research hinges on a particular molecule, known as a transcription factor, which switches genes on and off.

“This is about the oldest known transcription factor, Sp1, which was thought to play a quiet, reclusive role in our blood vessels. (But) our research has found that Sp1 undergoes a sudden chemical reaction that can lead to a heart attack,” said the study’s co-author Levon Khachigian of the Centre for Vascular Research.

The same chemical reaction is involved in arteries after balloon angioplasty, a common procedure that leads to artery narrowing.

“If this change in Sp1 is targeted correctly, this would open up new ways to treat patients with cardiovascular disease, our biggest killer,” said Khachigian.

The findings, published in the journal Circulation Research, could be used as possible drug targets for the disease in the future.

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