and Medicine for Seniors
Vaccine May Hold Key to Preventing Heart Disease with a Shot
study in Vaccine explains how flu vaccines prevent heart attacks
21, 2014 – One of the reasons senior citizens should not hesitate to get
a flu shot every year is the added protection it provides against heart
attack. Those who get vaccinated are 50 percent less likely to suffer a
heart attack in a year. The potency of this protection has motivated
researchers to learn more about what is causing it and how to create a
vaccine just to prevent heart disease.
the first time, this research, published in Vaccine, reveals the
molecular mechanism that underpins this phenomenon.
disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. People can reduce their
risk of heart disease by eating healthily, exercising and stopping
smoking. However, to date there is no vaccine against heart disease.
Previous clinical findings clearly show that people that receive the
seasonal flu vaccine also benefit from its protective effect against
heart disease. The exact mechanism underlying this protective effect
remained has been unknown.
new study for the first time reveals this mechanism, showing that the
flu vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that
switch on certain processes in cells. These processes lead to the
production of molecules that protect the heart.
researchers say that based on the results it may be possible to develop
a new vaccine against heart disease.
though the protective effect of the flu vaccine against heart disease
has been known for some time, there is very little research out there
looking at what causes it. Our proposed mechanism could potentially be
harnessed in a vaccine against heart disease, and we plan to investigate
this further," said Dr. Veljkovic, Institute Vinca, Belgrade, the lead
author of the new study.
researchers identified a protein called the bradykinin 2 receptor
(BKB2R), which is involved in cellular processes that protect the heart.
Some of the antibodies the body produces after flu vaccination switch
this protein on, therefore protecting against heart disease.
researchers analyzed 14 flu viruses used in vaccines, and identified
four that could be investigated for use in potential heart disease
rate of administering flu vaccinations is disappointingly low, even in
developed countries," added Dr. Veljkovic
hope that our results will encourage more people to get vaccinated
before the flu season starts."
article is "Influenza vaccine as prevention of cardiovascular diseases:
Possible molecular mechanism", by Veljko Veljkovic, Sanja Glisic, Nevena
Veljkovic, Tijana Bojic, Ursula Dietrich, Vladimir R. Perovic, Alfonso
Colombatti (doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.07.007). The article appears in
Vaccine, published by Elsevier.