DALLAS, April 6 -- Treatment of mice with substances that halt the growth of blood vessels inhibited the development of artery-clogging deposits known as plaque, as well as the tiny blood vessels that may nourish the plaque, according to a study reported in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
"These early results in animals suggest that the development of certain tiny new blood vessels within plaque may contribute to the progression of heart disease," says lead author Karen S. Moulton, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital and cardiology instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
"If this finding is supported in future studies, blood vessels in plaque could provide a potential target for the design of treatments that can delay the progression of heart disease and possibly reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes," Moulton adds.
In this study, mice that already had plaque in their arteries were given endostatin, a substance previously shown to inhibit development of new blood vessels. The treated mice averaged an 85 percent reduction in the volume of plaque growth compared to untreated animals of the same strain. Mice treated with another inhibitor, TNP-470, averaged a 70 percent reduction in the volume of plaque growth during the treatment period compared to untreated animals, says Moulton.
The research reported today was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and was conducted at the Children's Hospital in Boston in the laboratory of Judah Folkman, M.D., a pioneer in the field of research on angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels in the body.
During the past 15 years, researchers have discovered a host of natural
molecules in humans that either stimulate or retard angiogenesis. Angiogenesis
inhibitors are currently being tested in humans to determine their effectiveness
in treating some cancers
Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association