Basic Science and Translational Research

Research progress in vascular biology is critical, as vascular disease continues to affect much of the world’s population and continues to be the leading cause of morbidity and mortality.  

SVS' annual Vascular Research Initiatives Conference (VRIC) was established in 1986. This conference has provided a forum for the presentation and discussion of the highest quality, most innovative, and most relevant research in vascular biology and related fields. VRIC brings together both accomplished and young vascular surgeon researchers with a broad representation of vascular biologists. The VRIC provides a venue for the vascular surgery community to showcase research produced by vascular surgeon scientists – a group of physicians with direct access to patients with vascular disease and tissue from surgical specimens, coupled with an exceptional understanding of vascular disease.

Read more about VRIC and two featured presentations from 2016: wound-healing in diabetics and the role of exercise in patients with PAD. 

2016 VRIC Highlighted Presentations

Benefits of treatment for PAD Patients: Revascularization Benefits Greater than those of Exercise

A study from Dr. Iraklis Pipinos at University of Nebraska Medical Center suggests that people with muscle damage from peripheral artery disease benefit more from revascularization than supervised exercise therapy or no intervention.

Researchers found that increasing the blood flow to the leg in PAD patients via revascularization stops the progression of damage and scarring over six months and helps patients walk longer and further. In comparison, patients having six months of supervised exercise therapy had progression of damage and scarring in their leg muscle although they improved their treadmill walking distances. Finally, patients who had no intervention had progression of damage and scarring in their leg muscle and no changes in their walking distances. None of the therapies improved the scarring but revascularization stops it. 

In this relatively small study, with 20 patients undergoing bypass, 19 with supervised exercise therapy and 17 with no intervention, researchers followed current SVS recommendations for exercise therapy: six months of therapy, three times a week, under supervision. The group is now working to understand how scarring occurs and to test different medications that block the scarring pathways. 

Read the abstract at vsweb.org/Pipinos

Increased Inflammation and Impaired Wound Healing in a Murine Model of Diabetics

Because delayed wound healing is a significant problem for diabetics, Dr. Andrew Kimball and Dr. Katherine Gallagher from University of Michigan led a team to look into the biomechanics and immunology driving the delays. 

Mice were fed either a normal or high-fat diet for 12 to 16 weeks to create a diet-induced obese model of physiologic type 2 diabetes. Researchers created wounds in mice fed both diets, monitored wound healing daily and collected wound tissues for protein, RNA and cell-specific analysis.  

As the team expected, the mice fed the high-fat diet demonstrated significantly delayed wound healing compared to the mice fed a normal diet. Increased levels of detectable TLR4 RNA and protein were found in the bone marrow, blood and wounds of the high-fat diet mice. The team also found increased levels of histone methylation marks at the TLR4 gene locus that would allow and promote gene transcription.  

Dr. Kimball said the research shows how diabetes is a true systemic illness, affecting cells all over the body. The research also showed that diabetes can alter the DNA software, which can irreversibly affect cell function for life. The team concluded that diabetes results in wound monocyte/macrophages that have an inflammatory predisposition and this may represent a target for translation.  

Read the abstract at vsweb.org/Kimball.