The discovery by George Abela, chief of the cardiology division in MSU's College of Human Medicine, and a team of researchers provides new insights into how arteries harden - a process called atherosclerosis - and gives hope for new and early treatments of cardiovascular disease.
The findings are published in the most recent edition of the journal Nature.
Past research has shown that as cholesterol builds up along the wall of an artery, it crystallizes from a liquid to a solid state and expands, said Abela, who has been studying cholesterol crystals for nearly a decade. As the crystals expand, they can disrupt plaque and cause clotting, leading to cardiac attacks. That research also was recently highlighted recently in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology.
In a new discovery, Abela and the team - while looking at causes of inflammation during atherosclerosis in mice - found that the once cholesterol crystals form in the arterial wall, they activate a biomarker called NLRP3 that induces inflammation.
"What we have found now, at the cellular level, is that the crystals are an early cause rather than a late consequence of inflammation," Abela said.
The discovery could lead to new treatments for heart disease.
"Since cholesterol crystals form very early in the process of heart disease, with great potential to aggravate atherosclerosis, we can target them early on," Abela said. "We can target new therapies by reducing cholesterol crystal deposits early on or use an inhibitor to block the inflammatory biomarker."
Abela added that the biomarker activated by the crystals could be a better indicator of potential cardiovascular disease than others, such as serum cholesterol, or the amount of cholesterol found in the bloodstream.
"Now we treat atherosclerosis on the systematic level; with this discovery we can also treat it the cellular level," he said.
Researchers from several institutions across the globe took part in the project. To review the article in Nature, go to http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7293/full/nature08938.html. To review the article in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, go to http://www.lipidjournal.com/article/S1933-2874(10)00102-9/abstract.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
Jason Cody | EurekAlert!
Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Life Sciences
20.08.2018 | Information Technology