Dr Isabel Orriss and Professor Caroline Wheeler-Jones have been awarded a grant by the British Heart Foundation to work on Extracellular nucleotides and the P2Y2 receptor: potential targets for the inhibition of vascular calcification
Arteries are the vessels which carry blood away from the heart. In some individuals (diabetics, smokers, kidney patients, the elderly), a build-up of bone-like deposits (called calcification) causes the arteries to stiffen and narrow, so that they carry less blood. This can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and osteoporosis. The underlying causes of calcification in arteries are poorly understood, and there are currently no effective treatments available for preventing, reducing or reversing this process.
Research performed at the RVC has shown that ATP (adenosine triphosphate) prevents the formation of these bone-like deposits in muscle cells taken from arteries. This British Heart Foundation funded research will investigate how ATP and related molecules regulate the calcification of blood vessels. The results from this research will increase the understanding of how abnormal calcification develops in the arteries. Ultimately, it may pave the way to the development of new approaches to treat or prevent this common, serious problem.