Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), a rare vascular disease, may increase the risk of stroke, as well as hypertension, aneurysm, and artery blockage, in young women. A news release from the University of Michigan (UM) Health System notes that patients with FMD frequently have malformed arteries that appear on imaging like a “string of beads,” which increases the risk for these conditions. A team of scientists at the University of Michigan Health System are focusing on the vascular disease to under stand the molecular and genetic basis of FMD and what factors may cause its onset.

Santhi Ganesh, MD, of UM, explains, “The cause for FMD is not well understood, but there appears to be a familial genetic component.” Ganesh adds, “However, even with similar genetics, a relative may have different artery involvement, different disease severity, or not develop FMD at all.” Ganesh investigates the causes and attributes of FMD, which leads to abnormal cell development in the arterial wall.

Ganesh also leads a specialty clinic for FMD, which strives to provide direct patient care and the opportunity to bridge clinical care and research. In addition, the UM’s Michigan Cardiovascular Outcomes Research and Reporting Program supports an international FMD clinical registry which has collected clinical, imaging and genetics data from nearly 1,000 FMD patients.

The UM news release indicates that it appears that the cellular response to injury may be a key factor that causes the disease to manifest in certain patients. Ganesh states, “Further investigation into the triggering mechanism may lead to therapies that could dramatically change the outlook for FMD patients.”

Source: UM Health System