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Concept: Blood vessel


As multiple spacefaring nations contemplate extended manned missions to Mars and the Moon, health risks could be elevated as travel goes beyond the Earth’s protective magnetosphere into the more intense deep space radiation environment. The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, accidents and all other causes of death differ in (1) astronauts who never flew orbital missions in space, (2) astronauts who flew only in low Earth orbit (LEO), and (3) Apollo lunar astronauts, the only humans to have traveled beyond Earth’s magnetosphere. Results show there were no differences in CVD mortality rate between non-flight (9%) and LEO (11%) astronauts. However, the CVD mortality rate among Apollo lunar astronauts (43%) was 4-5 times higher than in non-flight and LEO astronauts. To test a possible mechanistic basis for these findings, a secondary purpose was to determine the long-term effects of simulated weightlessness and space-relevant total-body irradiation on vascular responsiveness in mice. The results demonstrate that space-relevant irradiation induces a sustained vascular endothelial cell dysfunction. Such impairment is known to lead to occlusive artery disease, and may be an important risk factor for CVD among astronauts exposed to deep space radiation.

Concepts: Mortality rate, Atherosclerosis, Earth's magnetic field, Earth, Blood vessel, Moon, Endothelium, Human spaceflight


A modified version of the Joint British Societies (JBS3) ‘heart age’ tool was introduced online to broaden access to personalised risk assessment to the general population and encourage participation in the National Health Service (NHS) Health Check programme. This study reports on its early uptake and the profiles of those who used the self-assessment tool to determine their own cardiovascular risk.

Concepts: Health care, Heart, Blood vessel, Risk, Cardiovascular disease, Circulatory system, National Health Service, Risk assessment


To determine whether dietary pattern assessed by a simple self-administered food frequency questionnaire is associated with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in high-risk patients with stable coronary artery disease.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, Heart, Blood vessel, Heart disease, Artery, Coronary circulation, Cardiovascular system


The risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) is largely influenced by lifestyle. Interestingly, cohort studies show that anxiety in general is associated with increased risk of IHD, independent of established risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Health anxiety is a specific type of anxiety characterised by preoccupation of having, acquiring or possibly avoiding illness, yet little is known about lifestyle and risk of disease development in this group.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Blood vessel


Metastasis through the bloodstream contributes to poor prognosis in many types of cancer. Mounting evidence implicates selectin-based adhesive interactions between cancer cells and the blood vessel wall as facilitating this process, in a manner similar to leukocyte trafficking during inflammation. Here, we describe a unique approach to target and kill colon and prostate cancer cells in the blood that causes circulating leukocytes to present the cancer-specific TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) on their surface along with E-selectin adhesion receptor. This approach, demonstrated in vitro with human blood and also in mice, mimics the cytotoxic activity of natural killer cells and increases the surface area available for delivery of the receptor-mediated signal. The resulting “unnatural killer cells” hold promise as an effective means to neutralize circulating tumor cells that enter blood with the potential to form new metastases.

Concepts: Immune system, Lymphocyte, Cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Blood, Blood vessel, Prostate cancer


The accuracy of the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Pooled Cohort Risk Equation for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events in contemporary and ethnically diverse populations is not well understood.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Demography, Blood vessel, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Cardiovascular diseases, Lipoprotein(a)


Here, for the first time, we test a novel hypothesis that systemic treatment of stroke with exosomes derived from multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) promote neurovascular remodeling and functional recovery after stroke in rats. Adult male Wistar rats were subjected to 2 hours of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) followed by tail vein injection of 100 μg protein from MSC exosome precipitates or an equal volume of vehicle phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (n=6/group) 24 hours later. Animals were killed at 28 days after stroke and histopathology and immunohistochemistry were employed to identify neurite remodeling, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis. Systemic administration of MSC-generated exosomes significantly improved functional recovery in stroke rats compared with PBS-treated controls. Axonal density and synaptophysin-positive areas were significantly increased along the ischemic boundary zone of the cortex and striatum in MCAo rats treated with exosomes compared with PBS control. Exosome treatment significantly increased the number of newly formed doublecortin (a marker of neuroblasts) and von Willebrand factor (a marker of endothelial cells) cells. Our results suggest that intravenous administration of cell-free MSC-generated exosomes post stroke improves functional recovery and enhances neurite remodeling, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis and represents a novel treatment for stroke.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 21 August 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.152.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Mesenchymal stem cell, Blood vessel, Middle cerebral artery, Endothelium, Cardiovascular system, Von Willebrand factor, Von Willebrand disease


During embryonic development, vascular networks remodel to meet the increasing demand of growing tissues for oxygen and nutrients. This is achieved by the pruning of redundant blood vessel segments, which then allows more efficient blood flow patterns. Because of the lack of an in vivo system suitable for high-resolution live imaging, the dynamics of the pruning process have not been described in detail. Here, we present the subintestinal vein (SIV) plexus of the zebrafish embryo as a novel model to study pruning at the cellular level. We show that blood vessel regression is a coordinated process of cell rearrangements involving lumen collapse and cell-cell contact resolution. Interestingly, the cellular rearrangements during pruning resemble endothelial cell behavior during vessel fusion in a reversed order. In pruning segments, endothelial cells first migrate toward opposing sides where they join the parental vascular branches, thus remodeling the multicellular segment into a unicellular connection. Often, the lumen is maintained throughout this process, and transient unicellular tubes form through cell self-fusion. In a second step, the unicellular connection is resolved unilaterally, and the pruning cell rejoins the opposing branch. Thus, we show for the first time that various cellular activities are coordinated to achieve blood vessel pruning and define two different morphogenetic pathways, which are selected by the flow environment.

Concepts: Inflammation, Atherosclerosis, Heart, Blood vessel, Capillary, Tissues, Endothelium, Vein


Type 1 diabetes is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD). Decreased endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) number plays a pivotal role in reduced endothelial repair and development of CVD. We aimed to determine if cardioprotective effect of metformin is mediated by increasing circulating endothelial progenitor cells (cEPCs), pro-angiogenic cells (PACs) and decreasing circulating endothelial cells (cECs) count whilst maintaining unchanged glycemic control.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Diabetes mellitus type 1, Blood vessel, Diabetes, Endothelial progenitor cell, Insulin resistance


Blunted nighttime blood pressure dipping is an established cardiovascular risk factor. This study examined the effect of job strain on nighttime blood pressure dipping among men and women with high blood pressure.

Concepts: Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Blood vessel, Cardiovascular disease, Blood pressure, Orthostatic hypotension