Research in the News: Yale researchers show how blood vessels keep fit

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Blood vessels need constant maintenance if they are to remain healthy. Yale researchers describe a key molecular fitness signal that prevents vessels from becoming narrow and developing dangerous plaques.

The research appears in the Sept. 23 issue of the journal Science Signaling. Researchers found that blood vessels in mice lacking signal fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 became narrower and accumulated deleterious smooth muscle cells, seen in red in the accompanying photos. “We found FGFR1 to be crucial to maintaining normalcy,” said Yale’s Michael Simons, senior author of the study. The knowledge should help design better therapy to maintain vascular health and to prevent vessel narrowing that occurs in many life-threatening illnesses.

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