The breakthrough involving Kruppel-like factor (KLF) 15 is the latest in a string of discoveries from the laboratory of professor of medicine Mukesh K. Jain, MD, FAHA, that involves a remarkable genetic family.
School of Medicine instructor Yuan Lu, MD, a member of Jain's team and colleagues observed that KLF-15 blocks the function of a molecule called NF-kB, a dominant factor responsible for triggering inflammation.
"It had been suspected that smooth muscle cells were related to inflammation, but it hadn't been pinpointed and specifically linked to disease," Jain, Ellery Sedgwick Jr. Chair and director, Case Cardiovascular Research Institute at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine said.
He said that this work provides cogent evidence that smooth muscle cells can initiate inflammation and thereby promote the development of vascular disease.
Smooth muscle cells are only one of two major cell types within blood vessels walls. The other cell type, endothelium, has traditionally taken the blame for inflammation, but Jain's study suggests that both cells are critically important in the development of vascular disease.
The researchers learned that expression of this factor appeared mainly in smooth muscle cells and that levels were markedly reduced in atherosclerotic human blood vessels. To establish causality, the team generated genetically-modified mice where they deleted KLF-15 gene in smooth muscle cells.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
--ANI (Posted on 05-09-2013)