PerspectiveCARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Hematopoietic stem cells gone rogue

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Science  24 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6327, pp. 798-799
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7939

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Summary

Cardiovascular disease is considered to be an aging-related disease and is the leading cause of death in the elderly in developed countries (1). As of 2013, 65% of deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease occurred among patients 75 years and older. A hallmark of aging is the accumulation of somatic DNA mutations in proliferative tissue. Although somatic mutations in the hematopoietic (blood cell) system are frequently observed in patients with hematological cancers, there is also a close correlation between hematopoietic somatic mutations and increased incidence of diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease–related deaths (2). On page 842 of this issue, Fuster et al. (3) report that somatic mutation in a gene called ten-eleven translocation 2 (Tet2) in hematopoietic stem cells increases atherosclerosis development in a mouse model.