Researchers at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine have developed a new preclinical model of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) that may lead to improved research and better treatment of the disorder.
The study’s results were presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2010 International Conference in New Orleans on May 19.
The new model mimics the plexiform lesion, which is the characteristic vascular change of pulmonary arteries in pulmonary hypertension.
“This study provides convincing evidence for the first time that the plexiform lesion develops in an experimental lab model of severe PAH,” said Dr. Kotaro Abe, instructor of biochemistry at the USA College of Medicine and lead author of the study. “To date, no lab model of pulmonary arterial hypertension exists that rigorously mimics the plexiform lesion found in human patients.”
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare blood disorder of the lung in which the pressure in the pulmonary artery -- the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs -- rises above normal levels and may become life threatening. It is a disease that affects people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
Researchers believe the model will reveal more detailed molecular and cellular mechanisms of severe PAH.
“This research gives us the opportunity to test therapies in our laboratories and then use that information in the clinical setting to better predict which treatments are available for patients with PAH,” said Dr. Karen A. Fagan, chief of the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at USA and medical director of the USA Pulmonary Hypertension Center.
“At the ATS conference, the model was incredibly well-received,” Dr. Fagan said. “Scientists from around the world were very excited to see the results, and we believe it will have a significant impact on studies that are ongoing and planned worldwide.”