Targeted micro-bubbles detect artery inflammation, MU study finds

December 12, 2012

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Heart disease is a leading cause of death throughout the world. Doctors say that it is important to detect heart disease early before it becomes too serious. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found a way that they believe could help detect heart disease before it progresses too far as well as identify patients who are at risk for strokes.

In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Isabelle Masseau, an assistant teaching professor in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, found that she could use targeted micro-bubbles to detect artery inflammation in pigs. She says that this procedure may help detect patients with heart disease or who are at risk for strokes before those ailments become too serious by monitoring artery inflammation, as that is an early warning sign of health problems. She says this procedure may also help monitor the effectiveness of artery inflammation treatments.

"It can be very difficult to detect early signs of heart disease, especially without the use of invasive procedures," Masseau said. "Doctors often have to wait until serious symptoms occur, such as chest pain or heart attacks, before they are aware of a problem, and many times that is too late. Targeted micro-bubbles have the potential to be able to detect early signs of heart disease very non-invasively."

Early signs of heart disease include inflammation on the insides of arteries, which leads to plaque buildup that could eventually result in heart attacks. Masseau was able to attach specific antibodies to tiny bubbles and then inject those bubbles into pigs with heart disease. The antibodies were able to seek out the inflammation in the pigs' arteries and attach themselves, along with the micro-bubbles, to the inflammatory sites. Then, using an ultrasound machine, Masseau was able to detect the targeted micro-bubbles that had gathered in the arteries of pigs. She says this is the first time the procedure has been successful in large animals.

"Because this procedure was successful in pigs, it also could potentially be reproduced in humans as well," Masseau said. "While it would still be a few years away, injecting targeted micro-bubbles into a human and then scanning them with an ultrasound would be a very simple procedure and could potentially help save lives."

Another part of Masseau's research involved studying pigs to observe the effects exercise has on artery inflammation. Before Masseau detected inflammation in the pigs using the targeted micro-bubbles, she submitted them to cardio exercise and measured its effect. Surprisingly, the exercise did not have any effect on reducing the arterial inflammation; however Masseau says that this does not mean that exercise is not important for heart health.

Masseau was joined in this study by Doug Bowles, a professor in the department of biomedical sciences in the MU Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, and Michael Davis, a professor and associate head of the department of medical pharmacology and physiology in the MU Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center.

The early-stage results of this research are promising. If additional studies, including animal studies, are successful within the next few years, MU officials will request authority from the federal government to begin human trials. After this status has been granted, researchers may conduct human clinical trials with the hope of developing new treatments for heart disease.

This research is an example of the One Health/One Medicine area of Mizzou Advantage. Mizzou Advantage is a program that focuses on four areas of MU strength: food for the future; media of the future; one health/one medicine; and sustainable energy. The goals of Mizzou Advantage are to strengthen existing faculty networks, create new networks and propel Mizzou's research, instruction and other activities to the next level.
-end-


University of Missouri-Columbia

Related Heart Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Cellular pathway of genetic heart disease similar to neurodegenerative disease
Research on a genetic heart disease has uncovered a new and unexpected mechanism for heart failure.

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

New 'atlas' of human heart cells first step toward precision treatments for heart disease
Scientists have for the first time documented all of the different cell types and genes expressed in the healthy human heart, in research published in the journal Nature.

With a heavy heart: How men and women develop heart disease differently
A new study by researchers from McGill University has uncovered that minerals causing aortic heart valve blockage in men and women are different, a discovery that could change how heart disease is diagnosed and treated.

Heart-healthy diets are naturally low in dietary cholesterol and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating a heart-healthy dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils and nuts, which is also limits salt, red and processed meats, refined-carbohydrates and added sugars, is relatively low in dietary cholesterol and supports healthy levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Pacemakers can improve heart function in patients with chemotherapy-induced heart disease
Research has shown that treating chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy with commercially available cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) delivered through a surgically implanted defibrillator or pacemaker can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Arsenic in drinking water may change heart structure raising risk of heart disease
Drinking water that is contaminated with arsenic may lead to thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber in young adults, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

New health calculator can help predict heart disease risk, estimate heart age
A new online health calculator can help people determine their risk of heart disease, as well as their heart age, accounting for sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity, sense of belonging and education, as well as health status and lifestyle behaviors.

Wide variation in rate of death between VA hospitals for patients with heart disease, heart failure
Death rates for veterans with ischemic heart disease and chronic heart failure varied widely across the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system from 2010 to 2014, which could suggest differences in the quality of cardiovascular health care provided by VA medical centers.

Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Read More: Heart Disease News and Heart Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.