Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Automation & Microfluidics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

UC Davis "Lab on a Chip" Measures Heart Disease Risk

Published: Thursday, August 08, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, August 08, 2013
Bookmark and Share
New test mimics artery conditions, detects inflammatory cells linked with atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction.

Using a special microchip that can perform laboratory functions, a team of cardiologists and biomedical engineers from UC Davis has identified cells linked with inflammation and varying degrees of heart disease.

The “lab on a chip,” which is based on technology used to evaluate chemicals and cell-to-cell interactions, may one day lead to a rapid test that doctors could use to better predict, treat and monitor atherosclerosis.

The study is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

“Our test provides a good indication of how atherosclerosis actually develops inside coronary arteries,” said Scott Simon, professor of biomedical engineering and a study co-author. “This is an exciting step in developing personalized profiles for heart disease risk.”

Cardiologists agree that inflammation plays an important role in heart disease, but knowing how inflammation affects the risk of a heart attack is a challenge – hence the phenomenon of a patient leaving the doctor’s office with a clean bill of health only to have a heart attack a week later.

“Inflammation likely accounts for aspects of heart disease that traditional indicators such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking and cholesterol don’t assess,” said Ehrin Armstrong, an interventional cardiologist and senior author of the study. “This test measures inflammation in cells of the immune system, opening up new avenues to monitor and treat cardiovascular disease.”

The investigators focused on specific white blood cells called CD14++ and CD16+ monocytes that link in the blood with triglycerides – fats that are risk factors for atherosclerosis. These monocytes become activated by “swallowing” triglycerides and expressing proteins called integrins. While integrins help protect against infection, they also make the monocytes sticky, helping them easily adhere to endothelial cells that line the inner surfaces of blood vessels and promoting plaques that clog arteries and lead to cardiac events.

The team used the “lab on a chip” to study the blood of 35 volunteers with varied levels of baseline triglycerides but who were otherwise healthy, along with the blood of 18 volunteers who each had experienced a heart attack. The small device – only a few square inches in area – forces blood to flow at a speed similar to blood in arteries over a specially treated glass slide that serves as a molecular substrate that models artery walls. The blood is then analyzed using a microscope that detects the relative levels of CD14++, CD16+ and integrins that stick to the substrate.

“Our lab-on-a-chip is unique in that it mimics the conditions in an actual artery during the early stages of atherosclerosis,” said Simon, who developed the technology used in the study.

After eating a high-fat meal to induce an inflammatory state, the blood of the healthy volunteers with varying triglyceride levels revealed that the monocytes had adhered to the chip substrate with sevenfold higher efficiency than other cells, proving that they are accurate biomarkers of inflammation. Further investigation showed that the increased monocyte adhesion was due to increased expression of a specific integrin known as CD11c, which was upregulated after the high-fat meal.

The evaluation of blood samples from patients who had experienced a heart attack showed that levels of CD14++ and CD16+ monocyte adhesion due to the integrin CD11c increased by 100 percent when compared to levels of these cells in the blood of healthy volunteers, indicating that these biomarkers increased proportionate to the level of cardiac disease.

“We can actually see how monocytes in the blood of people with different risks for atherosclerosis and heart attack – ranging from people with low to high triglyceride levels to those who had actually experienced a cardiac event – interact with this model of the artery wall,” said Armstrong. “We are coming close to observing atherosclerosis in action at a personal level.”

The lab-on-a-chip may one day be used to provide a rapid risk assessment tool that could be used in doctors’ offices. It may also be useful as a tool for further research in therapeutics.

“Interventions that target monocyte activation could reduce progression of atherosclerosis. In patients who have already had a heart attack, it is possible that such interventions could also reduce long-term injury to the heart,” said Armstrong.

The interdisciplinary team plans to carry the investigations further to refine their understanding of the cellular mechanisms of atherosclerosis. They would also like to conduct studies on larger populations over long time periods to better determine the predictive utility of the test.

Funding for the study was provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and with a Clinical Research Program Award from the American Heart Association.

Other study authors, all from UC Davis, are Greg Foster and Robert Michael Gower of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Kimber Stanhope and Peter Havel of the Department of Nutrition and Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
The Changing Tides of the In Vitro Diagnostics Market
With the increasing focus in personalized medicine, diagnostics plays a crucial role in patient monitoring.
Capturing Cell Growth in 3-D
Spinout’s microfluidics device better models how cancer and other cells interact in the body.
Device May Detect Urinary Tract Infections Faster
A Lab-on-a-Disc platform developed by a German and Irish team of researchers dramatically cut the time to detect bacterial species that cause urinary tract infections -- a major cause of sepsis.
Automation Abound at AACC in Atlanta
Discover the latest breakthroughs, trends and products from the AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo.
Real-Time Data for Cancer Therapy
Biochemical sensor implanted at initial biopsy could allow doctors to better monitor and adjust cancer treatments.
Lab-on-a-Chip Offers Promise for TB and Asthma Patients
A device to mix liquids using ultrasonics is the first and most difficult component in a miniaturized system for low-cost analysis of sputum from patients with pulmonary diseases such as tuberculosis and asthma.
Paving the way to Better Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
Aïcha BenTaieb will present her invention for automated identification of ovarian cancer’s many subtypes at an international conference this fall.
New Tech Enables Epigenomic Analysis with a Mere 100 Cells
A new technology that will dramatically enhance investigations of epigenomes, the machinery that turns on and off genes and a very prominent field of study in diseases such as stem cell differentiation, inflammation and cancer has been developed by researchers at Virginia Tech.
Futuristic Brain Probe Allows for Wireless Control of Neurons
NIH-funded scientists developed an ultra-thin, minimally invasive device for controlling brain cells with drugs and light.
Microfluidic Device Mixes And Matches DNA For Synthetic Biology
Researchers have developed a microfluidic device that quickly builds packages of DNA and delivers them into bacteria or yeast for further testing.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!