X-Message-Number: 15595
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001 10:47:59 -0800
From: Kennita Watson <>
Subject: Drug Decreases Blood Vessel Stiffness in Older Primates 

January 31, 2001 Proceedings of the National Academy of

A new drug that breaks down vascular collagen bonds in the body could be a
new treatment for high blood pressure, heart failure, and certain vascular
complications of diabetes. The treatment significantly decreased the
stiffness of blood vessels in older nonhuman primates, according to a study
conducted by scientists from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and

ALT-711 (Alteon, Ramsey, New Jersey), a thiazolium-based compound, snips
bonds or crosslinks created in the arteries and other tissues when glucose
attaches to collagen. Crosslinks are cable-like structures that inhibit the
natural flexibility of collagen strands. They tend to proliferate with age.
Crosslinks appear to toughen tissues and may cause some of the
deterioration associated with aging and diabetes, such as elevated systolic
blood pressure, hardened arteries, and impaired kidney function.

In the study, 6 rhesus monkeys received doses of ALT-711 every other day
for 3 weeks. Six weeks after the last treatment, all of the vessel walls
tested were more flexible, and the effect persisted for more than 4 months
after final administration of the drug. Blood flow through the heart also
increased and this improvement persisted for nearly 10 months after the
treatments ended. No significant changes in body weight or routine chemical
measurements were detected during the follow-up period. A report on the
study was published in the January 30 issue of the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.

"Arterial stiffening is a major factor in many of the vascular diseases
associated with advancing age," said Edward Lakatta, MD, co-author of the
study and chief of the NIA's Laboratory of Cardiovascular Sciences. "The
significance of this drug is it alters the properties of the arterial wall
and makes it easier for the heart to eject blood into the blood vessels.
These results, coupled with prior studies in smaller animals, certainly
suggest that ALT-711 may be a safe and efficacious approach to decreasing
the impact of arterial stiffness on cardiovascular health. However, further
research, including ongoing studies in people, will be needed in order to
confirm and extend these findings."

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2001;98:1171-1175
Live long and prosper,
Kennita Watson          |  I vote Libertarian.
     |      Find out why.
http://www.kennita.com  |           http://www.lp.org/intro

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=15595