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: Haiti cholera outbreak kills 132 in 2014

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA's best view of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA's Galileo ...

Dish restores Turner channels to lineup

2 hours ago

Turner Broadcasting channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are back on the Dish network after being dropped from the satellite TV provider's lineup during contract talks.

LiquidPiston unveils quiet X Mini engine prototype

7 hours ago

LiquidPiston has a new X Mini engine which is a small 70 cubic centimeter gasoline powered "prototype. This is a quiet, four-stroke engine with near-zero vibration. The company said it can bring improvements ...

Recommended for you

Global Ebola toll rises to 5,689: WHO

4 hours ago

The World Health Organization said Thursday that the global death toll from the Ebola virus had increased to 5,689 out of a total of 15,935 cases of infection, mainly in western Africa.

Ebola vaccine promising in first human trials

15 hours ago

Researchers say they're a step closer to developing an Ebola vaccine, with a Phase 1 trial showing promising results, but it will be months at the earliest before it can be used in the field.

At one month, US Ebola monitors finding no cases

17 hours ago

The U.S. program that requires weeks of monitoring for travelers from African countries with Ebola reaches the one-month mark Thursday. And so far, no cases of the disease have turned up.

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.