Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

U.Va. researchers uncover role of platelets in hardening of the arteries

16.12.2002


Scientists at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered a new contributor to atherosclerosis, the most common form of hardening of the arteries. Marked by cholesterol-calcium-lipid deposits, atherosclerosis is the main cause of heart attacks, the number one killer in the U.S. Doctors at U.Va. say research on mice has determined for the first time that activated platelets circulating in the blood, long understood as markers for atherosclerosis, really serve as participants in the process that eventually leads to atherosclerosis. The findings of the two-year study are published in the Dec. 16 online issue of the journal Nature Medicine, found at www.nature.com/naturemedicine.



"These platelets are time bombs in the blood," said Dr. Klaus Ley, director of the Cardiovascular Research Center and professor of biomedical engineering, molecular physiology and biological physics at U.Va. "The hope now is that we can develop anti-platelet drugs to limit activation, which would be a beneficial, effective preventive measure against heart attack. These important observations could translate into improved therapies for limiting this extremely prevalent disease."

There is a commonly used test for activated platelets, called flow cytometry. Ley believes some patients may want to be tested for the presence of such platelets, in addition to being tested for a compound called C-reactive protein (CRP), which increases when inflammation is present. The American Heart Association is studying whether a CRP test should be part of a routine check-up. "What was surprising is how long these activated platelets stay in the blood," Ley said.


Platelets, round or oval disks, are routinely found in blood and play an important role in clotting. Platelets are activated as part of the blood clotting response to injury or as part of the inflammatory response. They become sticky and are prone to bind with monocytes, a type of white blood cell. It’s believed aspirin plays a role in preventing heart attacks by acting on platelets.

In the study, U.Va. researchers injected activated platelets into mice engineered to have high cholesterol levels (1000 vs. 200 for humans) and studied the interaction with human aortic endothelial cells. They found that activated platelets were able to deposit pro-inflammatory factors, or chemokines, on monocytes and vessel walls, a key element in the formation of atherosclerotic lesions, or altered tissue. The researchers also found that a protein called platelet P-selectin is indispensable for the interaction of the platelets in the formation of atherosclerotic lesions. Researchers at University Hospital in Aachen, Germany and at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in New York contributed to the study.



*Note: Dr. Ley can be reached for comment at: 434-243-9966 (office) or 434-974-9265 (home) or by email: klausley@virginia.edu.


Bob Beard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/naturemedicine
http://hsc.virginia.edu/news

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials
16.01.2018 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication
12.01.2018 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>