Several years ago we reported some promising research at Ohio State studying alpha-2C receptors found on the surface of the cells in our blood vessels as a clue to finding preventative treatments for Raynaud’s sufferers. That research goes back about ten years ago, and we’ve heard nothing since – until now!
According to senior study author Maqsood Chotani, a principal investigator at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio the study identified new players that influence adrenergic receptor function in small blood vessels:
“The alpha-2C receptors had been identified many years ago, but the exact function of this alpha-2C subtype in blood vessels was very intriguing to me,” Chotani said. “Early observations showed the alpha2C to be inside the cell and not on the cell surface like other receptors in the same family. The general belief [had been] that the receptor doesn’t do anything in blood vessels — it was like a vestigial, or like a silent receptor.”
Not so, the new study found.
“The alpha-2C receptor has a specialized role; in fact, we believe it is a stress-responsive receptor and in this case it’s actually conserving body heat,” he said. “So we know how the receptor is regulated in health. In disease — like Raynaud’s — there could be a dysfunction, there could be overactivity of the new players we have identified in this study.”
While there’s still much more research work to be done, there’s hope that drugs targeting these alpha-2C receptors could open up new treatment options for Frosties. Click here for the full article.