Chinese Senior Editor's Virtual Issue: Novel potential targets in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases

Last Updated: 30 October 2016

Cardiovascular disease has become a most serious health threat and represents the major cause of morbidity and mortality across the world, thus attracting a significant amount of research in this field. Many researchers have devoted themselves to seeking novel potential targets for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Here, we have collected together a series of recent, key BJP articles that focus on potential targets in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been accepted as a third member of the gasotransmitter family, exhibiting several physiological and pathological processes, such as blood vessel relaxation (Lu et al., 2014), cardioprotection and atherosclerosis. It has been regarded as an idea target for hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases (Meng et al., 2015).

There are also several novel receptors involved in cardiovascular system. Class A1 scavenger receptors (SR-A1) are membrane glycoproteins to mediate the accumulation of lipids in macrophages, which plays critical roles in innate immunity, cell apoptosis and proliferation. It suggested that SR-A1 may be a potential target for therapeutic intervention of cardiovascular diseases (Ben et al., 2015). The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors are ligand-activated transcriptional factors belonging to the nuclear receptors superfamily. Activation of PPARs protects against the vascular complications of diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction and stroke, through exerting their anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic and antioxidant effects (Cheang et al., 2015). The family of interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) consists of nine members in mammals. They act as transcription factors for the interferons and play important roles of the IRFs in cardiovascular diseases, which suggested vital role of IRFs and their potential molecular mechanisms as novel stress sensors and mediators of cardiovascular diseases (Zhang et al., 2015). Direct vagal activation (electrical vagal stimulation, acetylcholine administration and acetylcholine receptor activation), pharmacological modulation (adenosine, cholinesterase inhibitors, statins) and exercise training was useful to protect against cardiovascular diseases (He et al., 2015).

Non-protein-coding genes microRNAs (miRNAs) as a central regulator of the pathogenesis of cardiac disease and a potential new therapeutic target for cardiovascular disease, which play a vital role in various cardiac conditions, including cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial ischaemia, cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure (Pan et al., 2015). Moreover, there are several “crosstalk” between receptor agonist and microRNAs. Activation of PPAR-δ induces microRNA-100 and decreases the uptake of very low-density lipoprotein in endothelial cells (Fang et al., 2015).

Together, these advances are beneficial to developing novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
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