Two novel potential drug targets for treating arterial diseases such
as atherosclerosis have been discovered by Brigham and Women's Hospital
Though the mechanisms that activate macrophages, a type of digestive white blood cell that targets foreign cells, remain incompletely understood, previous research shows that macrophages play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis and its thrombotic complications. Masanori Aikawa, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences (CICS) at the Brigham, his research fellow Hiroshi Iwata, MD, PhD, and colleagues studied atherosclerosis on the protein-level to determine which molecules were most involved in the regulation of macrophages.
Once Aikawa and his colleagues narrowed down their search to these two proteins, they silenced each gene in cultured macrophages and found that tamping down PARP14 increased macrophage activation while tamping down PARP9 had the opposite effect.
Aikawa and his colleagues plan to augment these findings to develop targeted therapeutics for atherosclerosis and other diseases.
"Macrophage activation plays a role in not only vascular disorders but also various inflammatory and autoimmune diseases," said Aikawa. "These results could provide important information about the mechanisms of these diseases and help to develop much needed new therapeutics."