Know how proteins stimulate blood vessel growth

Washington: According to a new research, inhibiting a protein within blood vessels can stimulate their growth, resulting in healthier fat tissue and lower blood sugar levels.

A research conducted at York University gave insights on improving blood vessel growth and showed how to mitigate serious health problems that arise with obesity, such as diabetes.

The findings of the study are published in the journal ELife.

The researchers investigated a process of the vascular system called angiogenesis and whether inhibiting FoxO1 protein would stimulate adipose angiogenesis.

Angiogenesis is the formation of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. It helps to maintain normal healthy functions in tissue, particularly when that tissue enlarges. However, when the tissue expands as it stores excess fat, angiogenesis is repressed and new capillaries fail to grow.

This results in unhealthy adipose tissue, which increases the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The team inhibited the production of FoxO1 protein and monitored the behaviour of capillary endothelial cells and the resultant influences of these changes on the expansion of adipose tissue.

The study found that lowering FoxO1 levels promoted angiogenesis and caused a healthier adipose tissue — in particular, with a high-fat diet. Lower levels of endothelial cell FoxO1 also led to an increase in the use of glucose, and less weight gain, despite consuming a diet high in fat.

“While we anticipated that improving angiogenesis in adipose tissue would make the adipose healthier, we were surprised that altering the levels of a particular protein, FoxO, in endothelial cells exerted such a broad influence on whole-body glucose levels and weight gain. This led us to propose the novel concept that the activity of endothelial cells can alter whole-body energy balance,” said Tara Haas, a researcher.

The researchers showed that removing FoxO1 made endothelial cells ‘hyperactive,’ and that this enabled the formation of a lot of new blood vessels in the fat tissue. At the same time, these blood vessels consumed a lot of energy, and this, in fact, can alleviate common health problems that accompany obesity, such as high levels of blood glucose and circulating fats, which are risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.