Aspirin's reign as "the wonder drug" may have a
serious challenger if new research by a team of
scientists from the United States and Brazil pans
out. That's because they have identified an enzyme,
called "soluble guanylate cyclase" or "sGC," which
shows potential for treating a range of illnesses
from breast cancer to erectile dysfunction. The
complete research report, which is co-authored by
Nobel laureate Ferid Murad, has been published
online in The FASEB Journal.
"The quantity of sGC is reduced or even absent in
several pathological conditions," said Ka Bian,
M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., a researcher involved in the
work from the George Washington University School of
Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.
"Our study sheds light to propose a novel
therapeutic target to increase the expression of sGC
through the blocking of histone deacetylase."
To make their discovery, Bian and colleagues treated
human breast cancer cells in the laboratory with
different types of chemicals that inhibit the
enzymes called histone deacetylases. In cells that
received these chemicals, the quantity of sGC was
Results showed that inhibition of histone
deacetylase elevated sGC in human breast cancer
Increased levels of sGC in breast cancer cells led
to the production of higher levels of cyclic GMP.
Cyclic GMP may decrease the growth of cancer cells.
Additionally, the activation of sGC relaxes smooth
muscle cells, suggesting that histone deacetylase
inhibitors have the potential to be useful for
treating other diseases, such as erectile
dysfunction, overactive bladder, pulmonary
hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
"These findings reveal a role of chromosome
remodeling factors in regulating the expression of
this particular form of guanylate cyclase" said
Thoru Pederson, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB
Journal. "The authors' suggestion of therapeutic
applications, while entirely speculative, is not
For more information
Epigenetic regulation of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC)
β1 in breast cancer cells.
Alex Sotolongo, Fabiola Zakia Mónica, Alex Kots,
Haijie Xiao, Jun Liu, Edward Seto, Ka Bian, and