Inflammation worsens danger due to atherosclerosis

Jan 22, 2009

Current research suggests that inflammation increases the risk of plaque rupture in atherosclerosis. The related report by Ovchinnikova et al, "T cell activation leads to reduced collagen maturation in atherosclerotic plaques of ApoE-deficient- mice," appears in the February 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Atherosclerosis is a disease of arterial blood vessels where fats, cholesterol, blood cells, and fibers form hardened plaques on the artery wall. These plaques restrict blood flow to tissues such as the heart and brain by narrowing the artery. Atherosclerosis can be caused by high blood pressure, high fat and high cholesterol diets, smoking, and diabetes. People with atherosclerotic plaques often show no symptoms for decades.

Atherosclerotic plaques consist of lipid cores covered by collagen fiber caps. These plaques can suddenly rupture, resulting in blood clots that completely block blood flow and lead to heart attack or stroke in otherwise healthy individuals. One potential cause of plaque rupture is the thinning of the collagen fiber cap covering the plaque.

Inflammatory cells are often observed at the site of plaque rupture. Researchers led by Dr. Göran K Hansson at the Karolinska Institute explored the role of inflammatory cells in atherosclerotic plaque rupture using an animal model of atherosclerosis with hyper-activated immune cells. They found that inflammation leads to a reduction of mature collagen in atherosclerotic plaques, leading to thinner caps that are more likely to rupture. They then identified a collagen-maturing enzyme, lysyl-oxidase (LOX), which represents a novel target in inflammation-induced plaque rupture.

The data from Ovchinnikova et al suggest "a novel mechanism by which adaptive immunity can modulate plaque stability - impairment of collagen maturation by T cell-dependent inflammation." These studies help unraveling the cause of myocardial infarction and stroke, and provide "interesting new targets for plaque stabilization therapy." In future studies, Dr. Hansson's group will explore the role of insufficient collagen maturation in human atherosclerosis. They hope that components of collagen and the LOX enzyme will become useful both to identify patients at risk for plaque rupture and to develop new therapy to prevent plaque rupture and thrombosis.

Source: American Journal of Pathology

Explore further: High penicillin prescribing could build reservoirs of resistance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A first peek beneath the surface of a comet

20 minutes ago

In some of the first research findings to be published from the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, scientists including astronomer Peter Schloerb of the University ...

Rosetta data reveals more surprises about comet 67P

20 minutes ago

As the Rosetta spacecraft orbits comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, an international team of scientists have discovered that the comet's atmosphere, or coma, is much less homogenous than expected and comet ...

Rosetta data give closest-ever look at a comet

20 minutes ago

On Nov. 12, 2014, the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission made history when its Philae lander touched down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. While this exciting technical achievement ...

Recommended for you

Liberia closes Ebola centre at epicentre of outbreak

2 hours ago

Liberia's president on Monday announced the closure of an Ebola treatment facility which lay at the epicentre of the virus's worst outbreak in history, as the disease's spread has slowed in the country.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2009
The title is certainly correct but there is deceptive information within;
"Atherosclerosis can be caused by high blood pressure, high fat and high cholesterol diets, smoking, and diabetes."

no, NO! Atherosclerosis is initiated by viral and/or microbial infections, the above contribute after the fact, and here's why; http://www.scienc...1053/DC1
The report is over 5 yr old and few researchers have taken notice,... yet.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.