Google Play icon

A molecule in red blood cells protects against heart attack

Posted August 27, 2013

John Pernow

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have discovered that nitric oxide can be released from red blood cells and protects against myocardial infarction. In an article published in the scientific journal PNAS they describe a new function of red blood cells that has potential significance as a novel treatment of the disease.

Nitric oxide (NO) is formed in the vascular wall, and mediates an important function by increasing the flow of blood in the organs, including the heart by dilating the coronary arteries. Results from earlier research indicates that red blood cells can also bind and deliver NO, but as yet the effect of this has been unclear since the main function of red blood cells is to deliver oxygen to all cells of the body.

In the present study, the researchers found that red blood cells from humans, rats and mice are able to release NO through the regulation of an enzyme called arginase. Tests on mice showed that the damage caused by myocardial infarction (heart attack) decreased significantly when arginase was blocked in the red blood cells. This protective effect was produced by NO that was formed in and released from red blood cells.

“Our results indicate a hitherto unknown function of red blood cells, namely the ability to produce and release NO following arginase blockade, a finding that increases our understanding of the cause of myocardial infarction and how it can be treated.” says Professor John Pernow who headed the study.

Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death amongst men and women in Sweden. Every year, some 30,000 people in Sweden suffer a myocardial infarction.

Source: KI

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
86,927 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. You Might Not Need a Hybrid Car If This Invention Works (January 11, 2020)
  2. Toyota Raize a new cool compact SUV that we will not see in this part of the world (November 24, 2019)
  3. An 18 carat gold nugget made of plastic (January 13, 2020)
  4. Human body temperature has decreased in United States, study finds (January 10, 2020)
  5. Often derided as pests, deer and elk can help young Douglas fir trees under some conditions (December 5, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email