A new study by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers identified a new culprit that leads to atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fat and cholesterol that hardens into plaque and narrows arteries. The research, published online by Nature Immunology on January 8, 2012, explains why cholesterol-laden, coronary artery disease-causing cells called macrophages, accumulate in artery plaques. "We have discovered that macrophages that accumulate in plaques secrete a molecule called netrin-1, " said Kathryn J. Moore, PhD, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Our study shows that netrin-1 blocks the normal migration of macrophages out of arteries, causing these immune cells to accumulate and promote the progression of atherosclerosis.
People with high cholesterol are at risk of heart attack and stroke because atherosclerotic plaques within their arteries can rupture triggering the formation of a blood clot called an occlusive thrombus that cuts off the blood supply to their heart or brain. For years, scientists have studied the cause of this abnormal clotting. Now, a study led by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, has identified a molecular pathway that leads to this abnormal blood clotting and turned it off using a popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins. The research was performed using humans, monkeys and mice with highly elevated blood lipid levels. It indicated that elevated levels of oxidized low density lipoprotein (LDL) induces a molecule called "tissue factor" that triggers clotting.
A new study published in the January 2012 edition of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that beef can play a role in a cholesterol-lowering diet, despite commonly held beliefs. The study found that diets including lean beef every day are as effective in lowering total and LDL "bad" cholesterol as the "gold standard" of heart-healthy diets (DASH, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) clinical study (Effects on Lipids, Lipoproteins and Apolipoproteins), 1 conducted by The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) researchers, evaluated adults with moderately elevated cholesterol levels, measuring the impact of diets including varying amounts of lean beef on total and LDL cholesterol levels. Study participants experienced a 10 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol from the start of the study, while consuming diets containing 4.
Statins, traditionally known as cholesterol-lowering drugs, may reduce mortality among patients hospitalized with influenza, according to a new study released online by The Journal of Infectious Diseases. It is the first published observational study to evaluate the relationship between statin use and mortality in hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection, according to Vanderbilt's William Schaffner, M.D., professor and chair of Preventive Medicine. "We may be able to combine statins with antiviral drugs to provide better treatment for patients seriously ill with influenza, " said Schaffner, who co-authored the study led by Meredith Vandermeer, MPH, of the Oregon Public Health Division. Researchers studied adults who were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza from 2007-2008 to evaluate the association between patients who were prescribed statins and influenza-related deaths.
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.