High blood pressure drug promotes new blood vessel growth in lab animals, providing potential 'angiogenesis' treatment

DALLAS, June 15 -- A drug used to lower high blood pressure can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in laboratory animals.

The findings, reported in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, suggest that the drug, quinaprilat, may prove useful for treating people with severe chest pain (angina) and others at high risk of suffering a heart attack, says the study's senior author Jeffrey M. Isner, M.D., professor of medicine and pathology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Quinaprilat, marketed as Acupril, is one of several drugs known as angiotensin-conversion-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which are used primarily to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. These drugs block the activation of angiotensin, which in its active form causes blood vessels to constrict. When blood vessels are constricted, the heart has to pump harder to force blood through the body.

"The study demonstrates an unexpected function of a class of drugs that is commercially available and already has been shown to be safe to use. Quinaprilat deserves to be investigated for its potential use for promoting blood vessel growth," says Isner.

The study findings may explain previous reports that ACE inhibitors can benefit individuals who have reduced blood flow to their hearts that can cause chest pain, or angina, says Isner.

"One reason for the interest in this approach is that ACE inhibitors are drugs that can be taken orally," he adds. "If they work out for this kind of application, they would be easy for patients to use and potentially would be among the simplest strategies one could devise for promoting new blood vessel formation."

The growth of new blood vessels is called angiogenesis. In recent years, scientists have focused considerable attention on drugs and natural molecules in the body that promote or inhibit angiogenesis. Pro-angiogenesis treatments also could help people when leg blood vessels are ob

Contact: Karen Hunter
American Heart Association

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