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Telomerase Activity High in Plaque Neutrophils in Angina

Significantly higher than circulating neutrophils

MONDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The activity of telomerase, which regulates cell aging, is significantly higher in coronary plaque neutrophils than circulating neutrophils in patients with unstable angina, according to study findings published in the Dec. 18/25 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Maria Lucia Narducci, M.D., from Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy, and colleagues isolated polymorphonuclear neutrophils from the circulation and from coronary plaques in 20 patients with unstable angina and six patients with chronic stable angina to test for telomerase activity.

The researchers found that neutrophils from coronary plaques from patients with unstable angina had significantly higher telomerase activity, while circulating neutrophils from patients with stable angina had significantly higher telomerase activity. The difference in telomerase activity between circulating and plaque neutrophils was significant for patients with unstable angina. A shorter interval between symptom onset to plaque neutrophil sampling was the only significant independent predictor of high telomerase activity in plaque neutrophils.

"In unstable angina patients, telomerase activity is high in coronary plaque polymorphonuclear neutrophils, while it is low in peripheral polymorphonuclear neutrophils," Narducci and colleagues conclude. "Telomerase reactivation in resident polymorphonuclear neutrophils resulting in a prolonged life span might play a key role in the early phases of instability."

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