Navigation Links
Inhibiting fatty acids in immune cells decreases atherosclerosis risk

AUDIO: Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a way to significantly reduce atherosclerosis in mice that does not involve lowering cholesterol levels or eliminating other...

Click here for more information.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a way to significantly reduce atherosclerosis in mice that does not involve lowering cholesterol levels or eliminating other obesity-related problems.

They report their findings in the July 23 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Atherosclerosis is the process through which fatty substances, such as cholesterol and cellular waste products accumulate in the lining of arteries. Those buildups, called plaques, reduce blood flow through the artery and can contribute to heart attack, stroke and even gangrene. It is common in individuals with obesity-related problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

In this study, the research team inhibited atherosclerosis in mice by interfering with production of a substance called fatty acid synthase. This enzyme converts dietary sugars into fatty acids in the liver, where it plays an important role in energy metabolism. But fatty acids also are involved in atherosclerosis.

"The plaques that clog arteries contain large amounts of fatty acids," says senior investigator Clay F. Semenkovich, MD. "We engineered mice that are unable to make fatty acid synthase in one of the major cell types that contribute to plaque formation. On a standard Western diet high in fat, the mice had less atherosclerosis than their normal littermates."

Animals can't survive without fatty acid synthase, so mice in this study were able to make the substance in most of their tissues. They couldn't manufacture it, however, in macrophages, a type of white blood cell that surrounds and kills invading microorganisms, removes dead cells from the body and stimulates the action of other immune cells. Macrophages are dispatched in response to injury, infection and inflammation.

Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Semenkovich, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor and chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research, says doctors tend to concentrate on treating the surrounding risk factors related to atherosclerosis, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, but he says the blockages themselves cause the most serious, life-threatening problems.

"With the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes, people sometimes forget that it's the blockages in the arteries that really kill people," he says. "We've made progress using statin drugs, for example, that lower cholesterol and fight plaque buildup, but a lot of people who take statins still die from cardiovascular disease. We need better therapies."

These mouse experiments suggest targeting fatty acid synthase in macrophages may provide a potential treatment strategy for humans. The researchers identified factors in the fatty acid pathway that seem to be capable of preventing plaques from blocking arteries in mice. He says those substances LXR-alpha and ABCA1 eventually may become drug targets.

"It may be possible, for example, to take macrophages out of humans, inhibit fatty acid synthase in those cells, and then infuse the macrophages back into the same person," he says. "From what we've observed in mice, we would hypothesize that approach might prevent or interfere with plaque buildup in people."

Inhibiting fatty acid synthase in macrophages may not keep blood vessels clean forever, according to Semenkovich, but he says it could lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes while people are making lifestyle changes in order to lose weight, gain control of blood sugar levels or lower triglycerides and cholesterol.

"This discovery allows us to separate atherosclerosis from associated conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol," he says. "In fact, in the mice without fatty acid synthase in their macrophage cells, there were no effects on diabetes. Cholesterol in the blood remained the same. But there were fewer blockages in arteries. If a similar approach worked for humans, it could help prevent heart attacks and strokes and give people a chance to get healthier by losing weight and lowering cholesterol."


Contact: Jim Dryden
Washington University School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Fatty acid to enhance anticancer drug
2. Researchers Identify 2 Genes Linked to Fatty Liver Disease
3. Studies Detail Possible Benefits of omega-3 Fatty Acids for Dogs With Arthritis
4. The effect of dietary supplements, acids and animal protein on gastrointestinal disorders
5. UCLA scientists create army of tumor-fighting immune cells and watch as they attack cancer
6. New Anti-HIV Weapons Found in Immune System
7. Genetic regulator opens new avenues to AIDS, immune system research
8. Unlocking the Immune System's Response to Infection and Injury
9. Gene Mutations Offer Clues to Autoimmune Disorders
10. How bacteria boost the immune system
11. Immune system helps transplanted stem cells navigate in central nervous system
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Inhibiting fatty acids in immune cells decreases atherosclerosis risk
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... TCS Healthcare Technologies (TCS), ... population health arenas, is pleased to announce that VIP Care Services, a Caprock ... implemented the ACUITY Complete Care™ Management to back their collaborative catastrophic case management ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... Nurotron Biotechnology ... in its largest order to date. , The order will be from the ... Nurotron’s Venus Cochlear Implant System is an effective solution for children and adults suffering ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... Amanda Beard and Brooke Bennett are collaborating with brands across various categories through ... four influential figures make up an elite group of Gold Medal Moms who ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Garden City, NY (PRWEB) , ... December 01, ... ... (NAPW) honors Dale Jones as a 2015-2016 inductee into its ... for leadership in education. NAPW is the nation’s leading networking organization exclusively for ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... VA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) released information for caregivers and held two webinars on ... are available on demand free of charge at . , With ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  The fee-for-service reimbursement ... U.S. medical imaging is on its way ... care payer-provider contracts are set to phase ... wake, alter provider-vendor relationships. The shift to ... forward new purchasing frameworks in the medical ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. and SAN ... Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA ) ... (FDA) has accepted for filing the New Drug Application ... approved, the extended release formulation will offer patients a ... ® ) is currently approved as ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and ST. LOUIS , Nov. ... (NASDAQ: ESRX ) today announced an early renewal ... which began in 1999, will now extend through at ... --> After evaluating pharmacy benefit manager capabilities during ... Express Scripts continues to offer the best health plan ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: