In a recent study from researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the protein Sirtuin3, which plays a critical role in the metabolism process, was linked to the development of pulmonary hypertension.
Pulmonary hypertension is caused by the narrowing of blood vessels in the lungs because of excessive cell growth in the vessel walls. The excessive growth of these cells resembles the way in which cancer cells behave. Sirtuin3 is a key regulator of mitochondrial function, which is also key in the development of cancer and diabetes. In laboratory models of pulmonary hypertension, as well as in tissues of patients with the disease, there were lower amounts of Sirtuin3 and it was less active compared with patients without the disease.
The results of this study demonstrate a strong link between pulmonary hypertension, cancer, and diabetes, and support the theory that all of these diseases have a metabolic basis.
The researchers used gene therapy to treat the lack of Sirtuin3 in the lab models, and they observed improvement in the disease just two weeks later. There are hopes that this discovery will help to identify patients who will benefit from gene therapy for treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
A UAlberta team has discovered that a protein that plays a critical role in metabolism, the process by which the cell generates energy from foods, is important for the development of pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease. Pulmonary hypertension is caused by the narrowing of the blood vessels in the lung, due to excessive growth of cells in the blood vessel wall.
The cells grow in number until they obstruct the vessels, causing the heart to struggle pushing blood through the lungs to the point where the heart fails and the patient dies. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor in the Department of Medicine and senior author of the study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, says in a sense, the cells grow uncontrollably, resembling cancer cells, with which they share many molecular features.