Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cholesterol crystals incite inflammation in coronary arteries, research finds

Date:
May 18, 2010
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Cholesterol crystals, known to be a catalyst for heart attacks and strokes, also cause cells to send out danger signals that can lead to the inflammation and hardening of arteries, according to new research. The discovery provides new insights into how arteries harden and gives hope for new and early treatments.

The protruding elements seen in the different slides are cholesterol crystals. Those elements are arising from within the artery wall, causing tearing and damage to the artery. The colors have been added for enhancement and imagery.
Credit: Image courtesy of Michigan State University

Cholesterol crystals, known to be a catalyst for heart attacks and strokes, also cause cells to send out danger signals that can lead to the inflammation and hardening of arteries, according to a Michigan State University cardiologist.

The discovery by George Abela, chief of the cardiology division in MSU's College of Human Medicine, and a team of researchers provides new insights into how arteries harden -- a process called atherosclerosis -- and gives hope for new and early treatments of cardiovascular disease.

The findings are published in the most recent edition of the journal Nature.

Past research has shown that as cholesterol builds up along the wall of an artery, it crystallizes from a liquid to a solid state and expands, said Abela, who has been studying cholesterol crystals for nearly a decade. As the crystals expand, they can disrupt plaque and cause clotting, leading to cardiac attacks. That research also was recently highlighted recently in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology.

In a new discovery, Abela and the team -- while looking at causes of inflammation during atherosclerosis in mice -- found that the once cholesterol crystals form in the arterial wall, they activate a biomarker called NLRP3 that induces inflammation.

"What we have found now, at the cellular level, is that the crystals are an early cause rather than a late consequence of inflammation," Abela said.

The discovery could lead to new treatments for heart disease.

"Since cholesterol crystals form very early in the process of heart disease, with great potential to aggravate atherosclerosis, we can target them early on," Abela said. "We can target new therapies by reducing cholesterol crystal deposits early on or use an inhibitor to block the inflammatory biomarker."

Abela added that the biomarker activated by the crystals could be a better indicator of potential cardiovascular disease than others, such as serum cholesterol, or the amount of cholesterol found in the bloodstream.

"Now we treat atherosclerosis on the systematic level; with this discovery we can also treat it the cellular level," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Peter Duewell, Hajime Kono, Katey J. Rayner, Cherilyn M. Sirois, Gregory Vladimer, Franz G. Bauernfeind, George S. Abela, Luigi Franchi, Gabriel Nuñez, Max Schnurr, Terje Espevik, Egil Lien, Katherine A. Fitzgerald, Kenneth L. Rock, Kathryn J. Moore, Samuel D. Wright, Veit Hornung, Eicke Latz. NLRP3 inflammasomes are required for atherogenesis and activated by cholesterol crystals. Nature, 2010; 464 (7293): 1357 DOI: 10.1038/nature08938
  2. George S. Abela. Cholesterol crystals piercing the arterial plaque and intima trigger local and systemic inflammation. Journal of Clinical Lipidology, 2010; 4 (3): 156 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacl.2010.03.003

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Cholesterol crystals incite inflammation in coronary arteries, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518170034.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2010, May 18). Cholesterol crystals incite inflammation in coronary arteries, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518170034.htm
Michigan State University. "Cholesterol crystals incite inflammation in coronary arteries, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518170034.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins