Chronic stress can induce rapid blocking of arteries after a balloon angioplasty procedure, according to research performed in animal studies at Georgetown University Medical Center. Blocked coronary arteries after angioplasty affect 41 percent of patients who undergo the procedure and can lead to death.
But the Georgetown scientists also demonstrated that this stress-induced atherosclerosis could be prevented by blocking a certain neuropeptide in blood vessels. They say the results, published in the October issue of the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, may someday lead to targeted therapy for individuals at risk for the condition.
The study is the newest in a series of animal studies that shows how chronic stress can be a high risk factor for accelerated atherosclerosis, a heart condition where plaque-like substances build up in the inner lining of an artery and can lead to heart attack or stroke. The study showed that the effects of stress were more rapid than the effects of a fat-rich diet in causing atherosclerosis.
Liz McDonald | EurekAlert!
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