16 July 2021

This week in PVD

Higher CDC2 protein levels increase cell proliferation in PAH

A protein known as cell division cycle protein 2 (CDC2) enhances the proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells — those lining the walls of lung arteries — in people with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a study reported. Additionally, the increased level of CDC2 in these cells was found to be dependent on FOXM1 and PLK1, two inducers of cell growth. Overall, the findings suggest that targeting CDC2 could be therapeutically beneficial for the treatment of PAH, the investigators said.

The study, “CDC2 Is an Important Driver of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation via FOXM1 and PLK1 in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension,” was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

PAPi Blood pressure test predicts mortality in Asian patients

The PAPi blood pressure test was able to accurately predict mortality in Asian people with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a 14-year study revealed. Despite that finding, the multi-factor REVEAL score was found to still be the best predictor for mortality risk in PAH.

“In our analysis, low PAPi was found to be a significant but modest independent predictor for death and time to death,” the researchers wrote. “The REVEAL score stands out as the strongest risk prediction tool still.”

The study, ”Does pulmonary artery pulsatility index predict mortality in pulmonary arterial hypertension?,” was published in the journal ESC Heart Failure.

Reducing smoking rates remains an important public health issue

Every year, thousands of people die in around the world as a consequence of smoking, and many more suffer from debilitating smoking-related diseases. Combustible cigarettes not only harm lives but the economy as well.

For adult smokers who do not quit, the opportunity to switch to scientifically substantiated, less harmful alternatives has the potential to accelerate the decline in the number of people smoking cigarettes. This is the principle of tobacco harm reduction.

While many people have stopped smoking cigarettes due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, a significant number have turned to less-harmful alternatives.

With the right regulatory encouragement, support from civil society, and the full embrace of science, I believe it is possible for the public’s call to be answered and for cigarette sales to be a thing of the past in many countries within a decade to a decade and a half.

Statins may reduce death from, severity of COVID-19 among those with heart disease or high blood pressure

DALLAS, July 15, 2021 — Research published today in The Public Library of Science ONE, PLOS ONE, examined the relationship between use of medications to control cholesterol or blood pressure levels, and the risk of death among people who were hospitalized due to COVID-19.

In an analysis of more than 10,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients across the United States, the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins, prior to admission was associated with a more than 40% reduction in in-hospital death, and a greater than 25% reduction in the risk of developing a severe outcome. The analysis compared similar patients who did and did not use statins or anti-hypertensive medication, among those both with and without underlying health conditions.

“Early during the pandemic, there were questions as to whether certain cardiovascular medications might worsen COVID-19 infections,” said Lori Daniels, M.D., M.A.S., lead author of the study, professor and director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at UC San Diego Health. “We found that not only are statins and anti-hypertensive medications safe – they may very well be protective in patients hospitalized for COVID, especially among those with a history of hypertension or cardiovascular disease.”


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