A molecule that usually protects the bodys infection-fighting cells might also contribute to fatty buildups that coat arteries and lead to heart disease, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.
The molecule, called apoptosis inhibitor of macrophage or AIM, inhibits cell death in macrophages, which circulate in the bloodstream and help the body fend off infection and foreign substances. The AIM-protected macrophages go on to encourage buildup of fats on the interior walls of arteries, according to Dr. Toru Miyazaki, senior author of a study that appears in the March issue of the journal Cell Metabolism.
" We found that AIM is highly expressed in certain macrophages and that lack of AIM dramatically decreased early atherosclerotic lesion development in mice," Dr. Miyazaki said. "These results may imply a novel therapeutic application of AIM regulation for prevention of atherosclerosis in the future. Most importantly and attractively for patients, this approach may not need dietary restriction."
Katherine Morales | EurekAlert!
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