Navigation Links
Cholesterol-lowering medication accelerates depletion of plaque in arteries

In a new study, NYU Langone Medical Center researchers have discovered how cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins promote the breakdown of plaque in the arteries. The study was published online by the journal PLoS One on December 6, 2011.

The findings support a large clinical study that recently showed patients taking high-doses of the cholesterol-lowering medications not only reduced their cholesterol levels but also reduced the amount of plaque in their arteries. However, until now researchers did not fully understand how statins could reduce atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fat and cholesterol that hardens into plaque in arteries, a major cause of mortality in Western countries. High blood cholesterol is a major culprit in atherosclerosis. As a result of narrowing arteries, blood clots can form or plaque can break off causing blockages in vessels. This can lead to a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke.

"Our new research shows statins actually promote the regression of atherosclerosis by altering the expression of a specific cell surface receptor within plaque cells," said co-author of the study, Edward Fisher, MD, PhD, Leon H. Charney Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and director of the Marc and Ruti Bell Vascular Biology Program at NYU Langone Medical Center. "This molecular phenomenon helps dissolve plaque by expelling coronary artery disease-causing cells from the plaque lining the arteries."

The NYU Langone study reveals how statins promote the transformation of arterial plaques by activating a protein that sits on the surface of macrophages, immune cells that are prevalent in plaque. The immune system sends macrophages to clean up cholesterol deposits in arteries, but once they fill up with the bad form of cholesterol they get stuck in the arteries, triggering the body's inflammatory response. The bloated macrophages then become major components of plaque lining artery walls.

In the study, researchers show in mouse models that statins activate the cell surface protein receptor C-C chemokine receptor type 7 (CCR7), which in turn activates a cell-signaling pathway forcing macrophages out of plaque. In addition, the researchers show that macrophages only leave plaque when CCR7 is expressed. Therefore, regression of plaque is dependent on CCR7, the researchers concluded. The statins appeared to directly regulate and enhance CCR7 gene expression and induce macrophage cells to leave the plaque. CCR7 is a widely studied protein associated with the migration of immune cells and its expression is a marker of the presence of macrophages.

Statins are potent inhibitors of HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme that plays a central role in the production of cholesterol. Statins have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cardiac events like heart attack. Cholesterol is needed for all proper cellular function. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), good cholesterol, helps reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by taking cholesterol away from cells. Low density lipoprotein (LDL-C), bad cholesterol, carries cholesterol to cells. However, an LDL overload in the body increases a person's risk of cardiovascular disease including atherosclerosis.

"Our experimental findings indicate that statins, in addition to lowering LDL cholesterol, have clinical benefits of accelerating plaque regression by a newly discovered mechanism," said co-author Michael Garabedian, PhD, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Urology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "It's possible that these drugs could possibly be more beneficial to a wider population of patients potentially reducing the overall lifetime burden of plaque and the prevention of atherosclerosis."


Contact: Lauren Woods
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Cholesterol-lowering drug shrinks enlarged prostates in hamster model
2. Cholesterol-lowering drugs may help prevent recurrent strokes in younger people
3. Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Safe for Long-Term Use, Study Finds
4. Certain pain medications do not appear to be associated with skin cancer risk
5. Study supports alternative anti-seizure medication following acute brain injury
6. Enovate Announces New Lightweight Medication Cart Series
7. Begins Blog About Americans' Access to Affordable Medication
8. NACDS RxIMPACT "Hill Day" Features More Advocates Increased Focus on Medication Adherence
9. South Dakota Students with Asthma Can Breathe Easier After New Law Allows Self-Administered Medications
10. RememberItNow! Launches Mobile Medication Reminder and eHealth Service
11. Medica Selects Fairview Pharmacy Services, LLC to Deliver Medication Therapy Management Services to City of Minneapolis Employees
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... announce the speakers for “Value-Based Payer-Provider Partnerships: Three Case Studies,” an upcoming ... value-based care arrangements: Essentia Health and UCare, MissionPoint Health Partners, and Intel ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Insightra ... TIGR® Matrix Surgical Mesh technology for soft tissue repair in the US via ... a long-term resorbable surgical mesh intended to support and reinforce soft tissue for ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... GKhair & Tibolli team members and artists were excited and proud ... 8th and 9th at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan Puerto Rico. The ... of the line fashion journalists. The San Juan Beauty Show carries immense credibility among ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... to announce their strategic partnership at the Radiological Society of North America ... and Winscribe, global providers of cutting-edge dictation and speech-enabled documentation software, announced ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... manufacturer and engineer of patented products, announces the Unstoppable Swappables, a household invention ... Window Coverings Industry makes $2 billion a year and is growing at 2.6%," ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... November 30, 2015 Elbit Imaging ... "Company") announced today that it was informed by InSightec Ltd. ... Safety (MFDS) has approved its Exablate Neuro system to ... --> --> Insightec,s Exablate Neuro platform ... that combines two technologies: Focused Ultrasound, which is used ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... Nov. 29, 2015  The GE Health Cloud 1 ... Society of North America (RSNA) meeting ... healthcare industry, the new cloud ecosystem and its applications will ... care pathways and multidisciplinary teams – both inside and outside ... and CEO of GE. "As the digital industrial leader, we ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Niederlande, November 27, 2015 ... bei fortgeschrittenem Krebs.   --> Ein ... fortgeschrittenem Krebs.   --> Ein ... fortgeschrittenem Krebs.   Clinical Cancer Research ... Clinical Cancer Research vom 6. November ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: