Failure to control inflammation drives atherosclerosis
20 June 2008
Chemical mediators help to 'cool down' the inflammatory process in blood vessels and prevent atherosclerosis, scientists have said.
According to experts, atherosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels lose their ability to recover from inflammation.
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston and Harvard Medical School in Boston have now found that increasing the production of chemical signals that encourage recovery (pro-resolution signals) can help to cool down the inflammation and delay the progress of atherosclerosis.
Lead author Dr Aksam Merched, assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology at BCM, commented: "Inflammation is a two-edged sword. If resolution fails and the response gets out of hand there is a never-ending civil war in the body.
"The specific chemical mediators that naturally cool down the inflammatory process identified in this study represent a new drug target for anti-atherosclerosis therapy."
The findings are published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.