Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ring-shaped sugar helps in cases of artherosclerosis

07.04.2016

Hardened and inflamed arteries, atherosclerosis, can be very dangerous. The consequences of atherosclerosis are among the most common causes of death in industrialized nations; in particular heart attacks and strokes. Crystalline cholesterol can contribute to this life-threatening inflammation in the arteries. An international research team of immunologists and cardiologists from the University of Bonn has now discovered that the ring-shaped sugar known as "cyclodextrin" can prevent and even reduce these dangerous cholesterol deposits. The results are now being published in the journal "Science Translational Medicine."

It is always a challenge for researchers to find the right approach for tackling a scientific issue. Yet sometimes people without any particular medical expertise also provide important clues which then lead to real breakthroughs. This was the case with Chris Hempel from the USA whose twin daughters suffer from the rare "Niemann-Pick type C" disease.


Investigated the effect of a sugar on atherosclerosis (from left): Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz, Alena Grebe and Dr. Sebastian Zimmer from the University Hospital Bonn.

(c) Photo: Barbara Frommann/University of Bonn

In this disease, gene mutations cause the dysfunction of cholesterol transport in the cells. Those affected initially develop normally, but then in childhood there is a rapid worsening of neurological function, with cognitive and motor impairment.

Until Chris Hempel became active, there was no treatment for Niemann-Pick C. With the aid of scientists, the mother developed a novel therapy with the ring-shaped sugar "cyclodextrin" which leads to better elimination of excess cholesterol from brain cells. Clinical studies on this are currently being conducted in the USA.

Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz from the Institute of Innate Immunity at the University of Bonn is studying how crystalline cholesterol causes massive immune responses and leads to life-threatening inflammation in arterial walls. In 2010, he published a study in the renowned journal "Nature" on the connection between atherosclerosis and the immune system.

In this study, the team of researchers working with Prof. Latz demonstrated that cholesterol crystals can activate an important receptor complex of the innate immune system and thus increase the inflammatory response in artherosclerosis. This caught Chris Hempel's attention and she reported her experiences with cyclodextrin to the immunologist.

High-cholesterol diet for mice

With an international team of researchers from Germany, the USA, Norway, Australia and Sweden, the scientists from a variety of fields from the University Hospital Bonn, under the direction of Prof. Latz, investigated whether cyclodextrin also has an effect on atherosclerosis.

The researchers fed a particularly cholesterol-rich diet to mice for eight weeks and subcutaneously injected the animals with cyclodextrin. "They were far less affected by plaques in their blood vessels than a control group who did not receive any cyclodextrin," says Dr. Sebastian Zimmer from the Department of Medicine II of the University Hospital Bonn. The ring-shaped sugars apparently program the cells in a way that leads to better elimination of excess crystalline cholesterol and also to a reduction in the inflammation in blood vessels at the same time.

Cyclodextrin increases the natural breakdown of cholesterol in the cells

The transcription factor "liver-X-receptor" (LXR) is a key regulator of cholesterol metabolism and thus plays an important role in connection atherosclerosis. "If too much cholesterol is present, LXR gives a signal. As a result, genes responsible for the efflux from the cell are activated," reports Alena Grebe, doctoral student in Prof. Latz's team.

"In addition, this factor downregulates inflammation." If the gene for LXR was muted absent in mice, this signal cascade did not function and cyclodextrin did not show any effect. The ring-shaped sugar evidently fulfills the function of an intermediary which increases the natural mechanisms of cholesterol breakdown in the cells and additionally reduces the inflammatory response.

Using human atherosclerotic vessels, the team also investigated whether cyclodextrin has the same effect in humans as in mice. The researchers cultivated plaques which had been surgically removed from the carotid arteries of atherosclerosis patients in order to improve their blood flow. If cyclodextrin was mixed into the nutrient solution, the cells showed the same reprogramming as those of the rodents: the mechanisms for plaque reduction started up and the inflammatory response subsided.

The active substance is already on the market

Prof. Latz hopes that cyclodextrin can be further developed as a drug for the treatment of atherosclerosis. "It is already on the market as a pharmaceutical solubilizing agent. However, costly clinical studies are needed for the new application," says the immunologist from the University of Bonn. Chris Hempel who pointed out the active substance cyclodextrin is incidentally listed as a co-author in the journal publication.

Publication: Cyclodextrin promotes atherosclerosis regression via macrophage reprogramming, “Science Translational Medicine”, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad6100

Media contact information:

Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz
Director of the Institute of Innate Immunity
University of Bonn
Tel. ++49-228-28751239
E-Mail: eicke.latz@uni-bonn.de

Johannes Seiler | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>