The pathological remodelling processes causing varicose veins are mediated by a single protein, according to new research.
As a response to increased stretching in the vessel walls or venous valves, the protein triggers the production of several molecules promoting changes in wall architecture.
Professor Thomas Korff, lead researcher on the project, stated: "The cellular mechanisms that control the formation of varicose veins appear to be similar to mechanisms that orchestrate the remodelling of arteries in patients with high blood pressure."
Previously there existed no system for the study of the cell changes that create varicose veins.
Varicose veins develop when the valves in veins stop working properly and cause the vein to well.
The condition is more common among women of retirement age and can be fatal in certain cases.
Over the last decade, new non surgical treatments have been developed to treat the problem.
It is hoped that the protein discovery will lead to further and improved treatment options.
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