Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Surrey found a protein inside blood vessels with an ability to protect the body from substances which cause cardiovascular disease.
A paper in the journal Cardiovascular Research, has revealed that the protein pregnane X receptor (PXR) can switch on different protective pathways in the blood vessels.
One of the researchers, Dr David Bishop-Bailey, based at Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute, said that they found the protein was able to sense a wide variety of drugs, foreign chemicals and food products in the blood and switch on specific pathways to deal with them.
The authors knew for a long time that this protein has an important role in sorting out waste products in the liver – now they believe it could have an important role in protecting the body against cardiovascular disease..
Heart and circulatory disease is the UK’s biggest killer.
The researchers used human tissue and blood vessel cells in culture and found PXR was present and active.
The researchers introduced specific PXR activating drugs and saw a co-ordinated increase in metabolising and anti-oxidant enzyme pathways.
“Since blood travels everywhere in the body, PXR has the potential to provide protection not just through its actions in the liver, but anywhere in the entire body. If we can work out how to manipulate PXR to turn on detoxification and antioxidant pathways in blood vessels, we may be a step closer to preventing our nation’s biggest killer”.Dr Bishop-Bailey, one of the researchers clarified. The research revealed the enigmatic role of tiny traces of a protein in ensuring the well being of the entire human body.