THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Researchers at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) have identified a protein, Cyclophilin A, responsible for increased risk of heart disease in patients with diabetes. The study would pave the way for developing drugs to inhibit the protein to reduce the risk.
Heart attacks result from rupture of cholesterol plaque deposited on walls of arteries. A tear or rupture in the plaque would activate a repairing mechanism resulting in a blood clot. Such clots can completely block blood flow to the heart muscle and cause a heart attack, said Dr. Surya Ramachandran, a program scientist with the Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes Biology lab, RGCB.
“Patients with diabetes mellitus have increased risk of vascular disease and are prone to ruptures. Our research has shown that Cyclophilin A plays a major role in increasing the risk,” she said. Inhibitors of Cyclophilin A would have potential use in reducing the vulnerability to heart attacks due to plaque rupture. “It is also being developed as a clinical serological marker of detecting vascular inflammation in patients with diabetes,” Dr Surya said.
RGCB Director Chandrabhas Narayana said the research findings with regard to the role played by Cyclophilin will provide a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cardiovascular diseases. “It will help in risk detection and development of novel pharmacological therapies.”
The findings of the research were recently published in ‘Cells’, an international, peer-reviewed, open access, journal of cell biology. “The protein Cyclophilin A impairs the process of prompt clearance of cells that have been programmed to die, resulting in rapid progression of plaque formation in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus,” said Dr. Surya.