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LIAI launches new division to look at novel approaches to heart disease and inflammation
Date:9/29/2008

ery wall, which produces a heart attack.

It is this aspect of the inflammatory process that draws Ley's primary attention. He focuses on macrophages, white blood cells of the immune system that usually rid the body of worn-out cells. However, in the case of the artery wall, the macrophages take on a destructive role, exacerbating the weakening of the artery wall caused by plaque formation. "The macrophages switch on a very specific program that we are trying to understand and to decipher why it weakens, rather than heals, the artery wall," said Ley, noting that the macrophages weaken the wall to the point of rupturing, which produces a heart attack. "We believe if we can stop that process, we can stop the rupture," said Ley. "This would have major implications for combating heart disease."

Kronenberg said Ley's work holds great promise. "Up to now, it has been under appreciated how important different types of white blood (immune) cells are in contributing to the leading killer of Americans," said Kronenberg. "Klaus (Ley) is a pioneer whose work is showing that the immune system plays a central role in heart disease."


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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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