The American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session and Expo is one of the most important cardiology conferences. Each year, interesting news is announced and scientific findings are presented over the course of three days. This year’s conference was held in San Diego on March 14-16. Periodically, Resverlogix will blog on topics held at major conferences.
The final presentation of the first day detailing the state of the art in vascular biology was delivered by Dr. Jorge Plutzky, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Vascular Disease Prevention Program. He presented his work on the role transcription factors play in determining cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). He showed data pointing to the role of both the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) and retinoid X receptor (RXR) as the coordinators of cell signaling that enables blood vessel damage in patients with diabetes and CVD. Blood vessel damage is one of the first stages in development of cardiovascular disease and this damage can eventually lead to events like heart attacks and strokes.
In the last segment of his presentation Dr. Plutzky detailed how epigenetics may be responsible for coordinating a multitude of genes leading to the development of vascular disease. He described how pro-inflammatory signals rapidly activate specific intracellular proteins, which in turn can lead to blood vessel disease. He also described the role of bromodomain extra-terminal (BET) proteins and specifically BRD2 in blood vessel disease. He noted that use of a BET inhibitor reduced markers for CVD in an animal model of DM, opening new possibilities for use of epigenetic drugs in the treatment of people with CVD and DM.
Brown et al. Molecular Cell (2014) 56: 219-231