A culprit cell that drives plaque buildup in arteries

October 27, 2016

Aging macrophages contribute to both early and late stages of atherosclerosis, the most common driver of cardiovascular disease, a new study in mice reveals. At early stages of the disease, removing these old or "senescent" cells caused regression of the atherosclerotic lesions, and at advanced stages, it limited disease progression, hinting at a potential cellular target for therapy. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque within the arteries, which can restrict blood flow. If plaques rupture, they can cause blood clots that lead to a heart attack or other cardiovascular complications. Previous studies had linked plaque buildup with markers of cell senescence -- a state whereby cells stop dividing but do not die - but it was unclear whether and when senescent cells actively contribute to the disease. To explore the role of senescent cells in more detail, Bennett Childs and colleagues studied atherosclerosis-prone mice that were genetically engineered in a way that allowed researchers to selectively eliminate senescent cells by administering a certain drug. When these mice were fed a high-fat diet and treated with the drug to remove senescent cells, they exhibited 60% less plaque compared to controls, despite similar feeding habits and blood lipids. By looking closely at the arteries of mice very shortly after starting a high-fat diet, the researchers observed fatty streaks containing lipid-filled "foamy" macrophages along the interior, which drove the expression of inflammatory cytokines. In mice with suppressed senescence, by contrast, these fatty streaks were reduced. Advanced atherosclerosis is characterized by unstable plaques that are prone to rupture; when the researchers studied mice with this advanced stage of disease, they found that markers of plaque instability were reduced in the mice with suppressed senescence compared to controls. These results suggest that blocking senescence could have beneficial effects at both early and late stages of atherosclerosis.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Cardiovascular Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Changes by income level in cardiovascular disease in US
Researchers examined changes in how common cardiovascular disease was in the highest-income earners compared with the rest of the population in the United States between 1999 and 2016.

Fighting cardiovascular disease with acne drug
Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and Stanford University have found the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy - a leading cause of heart failure - and identified a potential treatment for it: a drug already used to treat acne.

A talk with your GP may prevent cardiovascular disease
Having a general practitioner (GP) who is trained in motivational interviewing may reduce your risk of getting cardiovascular disease.

Dilemma of COVID-19, aging and cardiovascular disease
Whether individuals should continue to take angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is discussed in this article.

Air pollution linked to dementia and cardiovascular disease
People continuously exposed to air pollution are at increased risk of dementia, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular diseases, according to a study at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

New insights into the effect of aging on cardiovascular disease
Aging adults are more likely to have - and die from - cardiovascular disease than their younger counterparts.

Premature death from cardiovascular disease
National data were used to examine changes from 2000 to 2015 in premature death (ages 25 to 64) from cardiovascular disease in the United States.

Ultrasound: The potential power for cardiovascular disease therapy
In the current issue of Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications volume 4, issue 2, pp.

Despite the ACA, millions of Americans with cardiovascular disease still can't get care
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for Americans, yet millions with CVD or cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) still can't access the care they need, even years after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Excess weight and body fat cause cardiovascular disease
In the first Mendelian randomization study to look at this, researchers have found evidence that excess weight and body fat cause a range of heart and blood vessel diseases (rather than just being associated with it).

Read More: Cardiovascular Disease News and Cardiovascular Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.