The laboratory of Charles Thodeti, Ph.D., has found promising results in its investigation of how targeting a specific protein in blood vessel-forming cells could improve function in the heart. The research was presented at the American Heart Association (AH) Scientific Sessions 2019 held Nov. 16-18 in Philadelphia.
Thousands of health care providers and scientists from around the globe convened for this year’s event.
Anantha Kanugula, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Thodeti’s lab at Northeast Ohio Medical University, presented a rapid oral presentation titled “Endothelial TRPV4 deletion protects myocardium against pressure overload induced hypertrophy via preserved angiogenesis and reduced cardiac fibrosis.” This work was also selected for a poster presentation in the Best of BCVS-2019 at the AHA scientific sessions – a designation honoring the top 10% of abstract presentations from the BCVS-2019 meeting held July 29-Aug.1 in Boston.
An associate professor in the Department of Integrative Medical Sciences, Dr. Thodeti focuses on blood vessel growth – a research cluster within the Heart and Blood Vessel Research Focus Area at NEOMED.
In brief, Dr. Thodeti’s laboratory is investigating how the mechanical forces imposed by the beating of the heart regulate blood vessel growth in the heart – more so following an ischemic event, such as a heart attack. At that time, a part of the heart tissue dies and is replaced by a scar. Although one would expect that there would be more blood vessel growth to supply blood to the remaining heart tissue, in fact, the opposite happens over time – which can lead to heart failure.
Dr. Thodeti hypothesized that mechanical forces imposed by the beating of the heart acts as a brake for new blood vessel growth. To prove the hypothesis, his lab identified a protein involved in this process and showed that by releasing this “brake” – either by chemically inhibiting or genetically deleting this protein – one can increase blood vessel growth, protect the heart and prevent heart failure.
The research by Dr. Thodeti’s lab demonstrated that targeting this specific protein in blood vessel-forming cells improved function of the heart, which could offer new therapies for ischemic heart disease.