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Heart attack, an intestinal bacterium favours the onset
AN Italian research has managed to put into light for the first time the complicity of a bacterium of the gut, Escherichia coli, in infarction. In fact, circulating in the blood of patients and also in the blocked, artery causing the heart attack. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, is the result of an analysis of about 150 people and was coordinated by Francesco Violi, the director of The Medical Clinic of the university hospital Umberto I. The discovery could lay the groundwork for a preventive vaccine, anti-infarction, both of the targeted therapies to be administered in the acute phase.

cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction and stroke, are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in our country. Each year, more than 100,000 italians are affected by these diseases. The majority of heart attacks occurs because of the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) that is blocking one or more coronary arteries, the arteries that carry oxygenated blood and nutrients to the heart muscle, but the mechanisms that underlie it have not been fully elucidated.

The researchers examined a sample of 150 people. In 50 patients affected by infarction was analyzed, the concentration of the capsule of bacteria present in the thrombus and has been compared to that of 50 patients in a normal condition (stable angina), and 50 control subjects. In the group of infartuati there was a presence of bacteria significantly higher than that of the other two groups, associating the activation of platelets at the level of the thrombus.

Through the analysis, it was possible to demonstrate that the bacteria circulating in the blood of patients with infarction was Escherichia Coli, typically of intestinal origin. To understand the reason of the presence of bacteria, the team has analyzed the intestinal permeability of patients with infarction, which was impaired compared to control subjects. This condition was correlated with the concentration of the capsule of bacteria in clot (thrombus) coronary artery, suggesting that the increased intestinal permeability is responsible for bacterial translocation in the blood of subjects with stroke. The phenomenon has been reproduced in animals through the injection of Escherichia Coli, which has boosted the thrombosis.

researchers have also identified the cellular receptor to which the Escherichia Coli binds to facilitate thrombosis, the Toll-like receptor 4, and have inhibited the thrombotic process promoted by Escherichia Coli through a specific inhibitor. “These results – explains Francesco Violates – in addition to having defined a new mechanism that promotes the infarction, open new therapeutic perspectives for the treatment that involve or use of the molecule identified in acute cases, or the development of a vaccine to prevent the process of thrombosis of the coronary arteries”.

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