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News - Rutin may stop blood clots

By Holly Taylor BSc (Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

Rutin is a natural flavonoid found in many foods and drinks including onions, apples, citrus fruits, buckwheat and tea. It is commonly used to help strengthen the blood vessels and guard against conditions such as varicose veins. However, new research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation indicates that rutin may have additional cardiovascular benefits, helping to prevent the formation of blood clots.

The new study focuses on a substance called protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), which is found inside all cells. Previous studies have shown that PDI is rapidly released into the blood by platelets and the cells lining the blood vessels during the blood clotting process. This has led to interest in substances that can block PDI to help prevent clotting. The problem is intracellular PDI is necessary for the proper synthesis of proteins, so the search has been on to find something that will only block PDI once it’s been released into the blood stream.

For this new research, the team began by conducting a high-throughput screen of a wide array of compounds to identify PDI inhibitors. From more than 5,000 compounds that were screened, rutin emerged as the most potent agent. Further study of the rutin molecule then revealed that the same part of the molecule that provides the compound with its ability to inhibit PDI also prevents it from entering cells. Rutin was essentially the champion compound,” said the researchers. “That finding explained how this compound can be both a potent inhibitor of PDI and a safe food supplement.”

The team went on to test rutin’s effects on thrombosis – finding that it successfully retained its anti-clotting properties when it was metabolised following oral ingestion. Fascinatingly, rutin was also shown to inhibit both platelet accumulation and the formation of fibrin. This is important, as clots in arteries are platelet-rich, while those in veins are fibrin-rich. This discovery suggests that a single agent can treat and prevent both types of clots. 

Article References

R. Jasuja et al. “Protein disulfide isomerase inhibitors constitute a new class of antithrombotic agents” J Clin Invest. 2012 May 8. [Epub ahead of print]

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