"This study is important because it shows there are critical differences in cellular behavior between patients with coronary disease," said Dr. William Li, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation. "By studying these differences, it may be possible to develop a simple blood test to determine a patient's 'angiogenic capacity.'"
Dr. Harry Shamoon, professor of medicine and director of the General Clinical Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said Dr. Levy's work may make it easier to identify people at higher or lower risk for diabetic complications and to design therapy geared to individuals.
To test individuals' ability to grow new vessels -- called coronary artery collaterals -- the Technion researchers developed a test for measuring VEGF in the blood. They took blood samples from 51 patients with coronary heart disease. These patients were divided into three groups based on an X-ray of their coronary arteries: those who formed a large amount of collaterals, those who formed intermediate amounts and those who formed no collaterals. From the patients' blood, the researchers isolated the monocytes, a white blood cell, and divided them into two groups, treating one with 1% oxygen -- the amount available to patients suffering from low oxygen supply -- and the other group with 21% oxygen -- the normal amount available to healthy individuals. Then they measured the RNA in the cells, the genetic component responsible for enhancing VEGF and collateral growth. They found that the cells of people who grew more collaterals produced significantly more VEGF in response to the low oxygen supply than those who didn't grow them.
Interestingly, the people who did and did not grow collaterals were
roughly equal in number. This means that about 50 percent of coronary disease
patients can compensate
Contact: Martha Molnar
American Society for Technion - Israel Institute of Technology