One protein is linked both to blood-clotting and response to drugs, penn researchers find
A possible prelude to more effective pain-killers, anti-depressants and clot-busters, the research also sheds light on human drug dependency
The common protein Gz may wield surprising power over the body's brain and bloodstream, supporting the body's ability to stave off lethal blood clots and the brain's ability to avoid strokes. It is also involved in responses to psychoactive such as cocaine and morphine.
These findings appear in a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine that appears in the September issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Although the findings have been identified only in animal studies, the information holds promise for the future development of preventive treatments for thrombotic diseases such as strokes and heart disease, according to Jing Yang, PhD., the principal author of the study. Yang is an instructor in the Pharmacology Department and the Center for Experimental Therapeutics at Penn's School of Medicine.
A two-fold research effort involving both mouse cells and living animals, the research establishes a direct link between the Gz protein and the normal functioning of the body's central nervous system. It also demonstrates that the protein must be present for the formation of blood clots even after chemicals designed to induce clotting have been introduced into the bloodstream.
Scientists have long understood that the Gz protein mediates the work and effectiveness of cell receptors, influencing the way the cells experience and interact with their environment. But until the Penn study, they had not established what, exactly, that influence might be.
The Penn investigation was initiated by Lawrence F. Brass, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and pharmacology at Penn.