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Posts tagged ‘Atherosclerosis’

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Peripheral-Artery-Disease

Peripheral-Artery-Disease (Photo credit: Adams999)

 

A new study identified a new culprit that leads to atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fat and cholesterol that hardens into plaque and narrows arteries. The study was by conducted NYU Langone Medical Center researchers and published online by Nature Immunology in January 2012.

The research explains why cholesterol-laden, coronary artery disease-causing cells (called macrophages)  accumulate in artery plaques.

“We have discovered that macrophages that accumulate in plaques secrete a molecule called netrin-1,” said Kathryn J. Moore, PhD, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Our study shows that netrin-1 blocks the normal migration of macrophages out of arteries, causing these immune cells to accumulate and promote the progression of atherosclerosis.”

Artery plaques that are known to have high macrophage cell content, break off and cause vessel blockages, or potentially fatal heart attacks and strokes. Atherosclerosis is fueled by the presence of these cholesterol-laden macrophages in the artery wall. Typically, the boy’s own immune system sends macrophages to clean up cholesterol deposits in arteries;

However, once they fill up with the unhealthy form of cholesterol they get stuck in the arteries, triggering the body’s inflammatory response. The bloated macrophages then become major components of plaque lining artery walls.

Until now, the mechanism by which macrophages become trapped has remained unknown.In this new study, researchers show why macrophages remain in artery plaques leading to atherosclerosis. Netrin-1 promotes atherosclerosis by retaining macrophages in the artery wall. In fact, netrin-1 signals macrophages to stop migrating and as a result these cells accumulate within the plaque.

In addition, study experiments show, genetically deleting netrin-1 can minimize atherosclerosis, reduce the level of macrophages in plaque and promote the migration of macrophages from plaques.

In the study, the research scientists used a florescent tracking technique to label and monitor the movement of macrophage cells in and out of plaques. This experiment showed how macrophages were immobilized and retained in plaque by netrin-1 expression and also demonstrated macrophage emigration from plaque after the deletion of netrin-1.

“Our study identifies netrin-1 as a novel target for future therapeutic intervention for the treatment of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease,” said Janine M. van Gils, PhD, the lead author of the study and a post-doctoral researcher in the Marc and Ruti Bell Vascular Biology and Disease Program, Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Dept. of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“This discovery provides new clues to help reduce the amount of plaque in arteries and the threat of atherosclerosis, a major cause of mortality in Western countries. The development of a new strategy to diminish macrophage accumulation in plaque offers great promise to reducing the occurrence of fatal cardiac events.”

Story Source: NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine.

Journal Reference: The neuroimmune guidance cue netrin-1 promotes atherosclerosis by inhibiting the emigration of macrophages from plaques. Nature Immunology, 2012;

NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine (2012, January 9).

 

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

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Lycopene’s Heart Health Benefits

Lycopene, the red pigment that colors tomatoes.

Image via Wikipedia

Superfood Antioxidants, Carotenoids Are Beneficial For Cardiovascular Health,

According To Research. . .

Lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their rich-red color, may benefit heart health by boosting the body’s natural antioxidant defenses and protecting against DNA damage, says a new study from South Korea.

A daily supplement of 15 milligrams for eight weeks was associated with increased activity of SOD (super oxide dismutase), a powerful antioxidant enzyme, as well as reductions in measures of DNA damage in white blood cells, according to results published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

Furthermore, the apparent benefits extended to a reduction in systolic blood pressure and a decrease in levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). CRP is a marker of inflammation and is reported to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular-related events.

“These results add to the growing literature on potential protective effects of the antioxidant lycopene in atherosclerosis through an anti-inflammatory effect and preserving endothelial function,” wrote the researchers  from Yonsei University in South Korea.

 

Growing Science for Lycopene

Lycopene is an antioxidant that is present in red and pink-colored fruits and vegetables. It has been shown  to have heart, blood pressure, prostate, osteoporosis, skin and other benefits.

Study Details

The South Korean researchers recruited 126 health  men with an average age of 34 and an average BMI of  24 kg/m2, and randomly assigned them to receive a daily  6 or 15 milligram supplement of lycopene, or placebo for eight weeks.

At the end of the study the researchers reported that SOD activity increased by 2.37 units per milliliter in the high-dose group, compared with an increase of 1.73 units per milliliter in 6 mg group and a decrease in activity in the placebo group.

 

In addition, DNA damage was reduced in the high dose group, compared with the other groups. Endothelial  function, the function of the cells lining blood vessels,  was also improved significantly following the high dose group.

“Interestingly, the beneficial effects of lycopene supplementation on endothelial function were remarkable  in subjects with relatively impaired endothelial cell function  at initial level,” report the researchers.

CRP levels decreased by 57 percent in the high dose  group, while no significant reductions were recorded in the other two groups, said the researchers.

“Subjects supplemented with 15-mg lycopene daily for 8-week also showed reduction in other cardiovascular  risk factors, for example, an increase in LDL particle size,” report the researchers. “Since the lycopene capsule used  in this study also contains beta-carotene (greater than  0.5 mg), the subjects in the 15-mg lycopene/day group  had a 65 percent increase in lycopene concentration and a 20 percent increase in beta-carotene, which is a known effective antioxidant that inactivates free radicals, inversely correlates with CRP, and slows the progression of atherosclerosis.

“Therefore, a synergistic effect of Lycopene and  Beta-Carotene in the 15-mg Lycopene/day group likely increased the beneficial effects on these atherosclerosis  risk factors,” they added.

 

Source: Atherosclerosis (Published online)

“Effects of lycopene supplementation on oxidative stress

and markers of endothelial function in healthy men”

 

Editor’s Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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