Investigating a protein that promotes blood vessel repair

The role of histone deacetylase 7-derived peptides in mobilization and differentiation of vascular progenitor cells

Lingfang Zeng (lead researcher)

King's College London

Start date: 15 June 2015 (Duration 3 years)

Dr Lingfang Zeng and his team at King’s College London study the cells that make up the inner lining of blood vessels (the endothelium).These cells, called endothelial cells, do not work correctly in several heart and circulatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis.

Scientists know that cells called vascular progenitor cells (VPCs) that are found in blood vessels are important to keep the inner lining of the blood vessels healthy. These cells can mature into endothelial cells and repair damage to the blood vessel lining. However, under different conditions, they can also mature into muscle cells, which can cause the vessel wall to thicken - a complication resulting in narrowing of blood vessels after angioplasty or stenting.

Dr Zeng has recently found a short protein that is crucial for VPCs to become endothelial cells, rather than smooth muscle cells. He has found this protein is also important for the formation of a healthy lining of endothelial cells after blood vessel injury and for formation of new blood vessels. Dr Zeng and his team are now investigating how this protein works in more detail. They will also work out if the protein has the potential to restore blood flow in a mouse model of circulatory disease.

This research will reveal new insights into how endothelial cells are formed and may identify a new way to treat heart and circulatory disease using this protein.

Project details

Grant amount £243,976
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 15 June 2015
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/15/3/31226
Status In progress

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