L3 – 0129 Cell-free nucleic acids in diagnosis of coronary atherosclerosis (Applied project)
1.2.2008 – 31.1.2011

Lead Partner:

University of Primorska College of Health Care Izola
University of Ljubljana Faculty of Pharmacy
University Medical Centre Ljubljana
Principal investigator / researcher:

Darko Černe, PhD (SICRIS, ResearchGate)

Nowadays there is no reliable, non-invasive method for the early diagnosis of vulnerable atherosclerotic coronary plaques and thus of patients who could suffer from acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Our research work aims to prove that patients with vulnerable atherosclerotic coronary plaques have in plasma increased concentration of messenger RNA (mRNA) of genes, of which increased gene expression in the arterial wall substantially contribute to the development and destabilization of atherosclerotic plaque. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of cell-free nucleic acids (DNA, RNA, mRNA) is nowadays already used in tumour and prenatal diagnostics. In addition, there is an intensive investigation into the possibilities of its application in stroke, trauma, diabetes and other critical care settings going on.
Concentrations of mRNA (for instance of genes encoding MMP9, HSP 70, Il-1α, perilipin, TF, MCP1, SR A1 in collagen α2 tip 1; not final selection) will be measured in plasma of 30 patients with ACS, 30 patients with stable angina pectoris and 30 control subjects presumably, in all participants in basic condition and in patients again one hour after a percutaneous coronary revascularization intervention. We believe that mRNA of aforementioned genes will be found in plasma in basic condition (and even easier after the mechanic treatment of coronary arteries) permitting a reliable comparison between stable and unstable patients.
To confirm expected results would mean to prove for the first time the existence of mRNA of genes, of which gene expression is increased in the atherosclerotic lesion, in plasma of patients with coronary atherosclerosis. Analysis of cell-free mRNA in plasma would become a useful, reliable, non-invasive test method for diagnosis of vulnerable atherosclerotic coronary plaques and thus patients who could suffer from ACS. In comparison to test methods nowadays used it would offer an earlier detection and treatment of the disease. Analysis of cell-free mRNA in plasma would also offer in vivo assessment of influence of atherosclerotic risk factors on arterial wall.