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Blood vessel bends and branches put the brakes on statins
Date:7/9/2009

First evidence that biomechanical forces may affect drug's action.

(PRWeb UK) July 9, 2009 -- New British Heart Foundation (BHF) research¹ revealed today suggests for the first time that the way blood flows through our arteries may boost an antioxidant effect of statin medicines. The discovery at Imperial College London is the first evidence of biomechanical forces affecting the action of a commonly-used drug, and could point the way towards new targets to improve artery health throughout the body.

Statins lower harmful LDL cholesterol - in 2008 nearly 50 million statin prescriptions were written for people at high risk of heart attack in England², where they are estimated to save nearly 10,000 lives each year³. The drugs are also thought to have other heart-protective actions, which may include their ability to produce anti-oxidants in the cells of our arteries by boosting levels of the enzyme 'heme oxygenase-1' (HO-1).

Researchers in Cardiovascular Sciences at Imperial College London investigated the anti-oxidant potency of statins in different parts of the circulation by measuring the amount of HO-1 in 'endothelial' cells that line arteries.

Dr Justin Mason, Dr Faisal Ali and colleagues discovered that - in human tissue culture and in mice - the increase in HO-1 induced by the statin was significantly higher in cells exposed to fast and regular blood flow, compared to those cells
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