Heart Disease: Blocking Plaque in Its Tracks
Newtown Pa: Researchers in Germany are conducting some fascinating and promising research. They are trying to combat heart disease by “Jamming the signals that trigger the formation of blockage due to plaque build up in the arteries”.
Researchers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have developed a short peptide (building blocks of proteins) that block the signal pathway in white blood cell (monocytes) that enables them to adhere, stick to arterial wall lining (endothelial cells) and get embedded at the sites of severe inflammation. Resulting in plaque buildup and blockages that are a major contributor to heart attacks.
A class of white blood cells (known as monocytes) plays an important role in our immune responses. This immune response actions, in certain cases, can result in tissue damage that increases the risk of heart attacks. A situation like this occurs when, in response to chemical signals, excessive numbers of white blood cells (monocytes) ‘attack’ the thin layer (endothelial cells) that line the blood vessels and induce a chronic inflammatory reaction in the underlying tissue. Researchers led by Professor Oliver Söhnlein of the Institute for Cardiovascular Prevention have now found a way to stop the local ‘bombardment’ of white blood cells (monocytes) from the bloodstream into the arterial tissues. Their findings appear in the latest issue of the journal “Science Translational Medicine”.
White blood cells (monocyte) invasion into sites of inflammation is triggered by a series of reactions that allows the white blood cells (monocytes) to stick to and embed between neighboring cells in the arterial wall (endothelial cells).
Gathering of large numbers of white blood cells (monocytes) at the arterial wall is often triggered by the activation of two other cell types ( neutrophils and platelets).
In the new study, Söhnlein and his colleagues focused on the role of cells mentioned above, resulting in the accumulation and binding of white blood cells (monocytes).
“Both neutrophils and platelets synthesize specific signal proteins, which are encapsulated in storage vesicles and are secreted when the cells bind to damaged tissues,” Söhnlein explains.
Moreover, proteins released from the two cell types stimulate white blood cells (monocytes) to bind to the vessel wall. Interrupting these signals that cause the white blood cells to bind can be beneficial.
As a result, the white blood cells (monocytes) are not activated, cannot bind to the arterial wall (endothelium), and instead continue their way through the bloodstream. This stops the formation of deadly plaque right in it’s tracks. This early research can be a major contribution in the prevention of heart disease.
Studies have shown that inflammation in the arterial walls is the result of free radicles, toxins, and stress hormones.
Stress, diet and inflammation in the body, watch the video below.
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