Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New driver of atherosclerosis offers potential as therapeutic target

Date:
June 19, 2014
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
A new driver of atherosclerosis has been identified by researchers. Atherosclerosis is characterized by the build-up of lesions (or plaques) formed from lipids, such as cholesterol and fatty acids. Ruptured plaques can partially or completely block blood flow, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.

The new study, conducted by a team of UT Southwestern researchers led by senior author Dr. Philip Shaul, sought to identify the impact of 27HC on atherosclerosis. The study's findings -- first-authored by Dr. Michihisa Umetani -- were recently published in Cell Metabolism.
Credit: UT Southwestern

A new driver of atherosclerosis has been identified by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center. This molecule, known as 27HC (27-hydroxycholesterol), has been found to exacerbate the development of the condition, and may prove to be a promising therapeutic target.

Related Articles


Atherosclerosis is characterized by the build-up of lesions (or plaques) formed from lipids, such as cholesterol and fatty acids. Ruptured plaques can partially or completely block blood flow, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke. A member of a larger family of molecules known as oxysterols, 27HC is produced during the normal breakdown of cholesterol and is known to accumulate in atherosclerotic plaques.

The new study, conducted by a team of UT Southwestern researchers led by senior author Dr. Philip Shaul, sought to identify the impact of 27HC on atherosclerosis. Dr. Shaul is Vice Chair for Research and Professor of Pediatrics, and Director of the Center for Pulmonary and Vascular Biology at UT Southwestern. The study's findings -- first-authored by Dr. Michihisa Umetani, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology -- were recently published in Cell Metabolism.

Using animal models and other strategies, the researchers found that 27HC promotes the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, causing a doubling in the accumulation of lipids in the arterial wall. 27HC achieves this buildup through mechanisms mediated by estrogen receptors, which normally enable the hormone estrogen to protect against the development and progression of atherosclerosis. By blocking estrogen receptors, 27HC prevents the beneficial effects of estrogen and promotes atherosclerosis.

"When 27HC is present, estrogen's protective effects are only observed at very high levels of the hormone," said Dr. Shaul, holder of the Associates First Capital Corporation Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics. "This result may explain why hormone therapy with estrogen does not provide cardiovascular benefit in women with pre-existing atherosclerosis, in which 27HC is abundant in the vascular wall."

Probing further into the underlying mechanisms, the researchers discovered that 27HC triggers inflammation in the arterial wall, a key step in the establishment of atherosclerotic plaques. This detrimental effect was characterized by exaggerated production of molecules that drive inflammation, called cytokines, and enhanced attachment on the arterial wall of immune cells known as macrophages. It is the recruitment of macrophages that then accumulate lipids (such as cholesterol) that triggers the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.

"Although statins have had a dramatic impact on cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol, we still need complementary methods to combat atherosclerosis," Dr. Shaul said. "Targeting 27HC, either by lowering the levels of this compound or by inhibiting its actions, could potentially provide a complementary approach to preventing vascular disease."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michihisa Umetani, Pritam Ghosh, Tomonori Ishikawa, Junko Umetani, Mohamed Ahmed, Chieko Mineo, PhilipW. Shaul. The Cholesterol Metabolite 27-Hydroxycholesterol Promotes Atherosclerosis via Proinflammatory Processes Mediated by Estrogen Receptor Alpha. Cell Metabolism, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2014.05.013

Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "New driver of atherosclerosis offers potential as therapeutic target." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619172612.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2014, June 19). New driver of atherosclerosis offers potential as therapeutic target. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619172612.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "New driver of atherosclerosis offers potential as therapeutic target." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619172612.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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