Protein key to prevent heart attacks, strokes identified

Protein key to prevent heart attacks, strokes identified

According to a new study conducted by the University of Missouri (MU) in the US, increasing the levels of a protein in the atherosclerosis patients’ can help in reducing the amount of plaque build-up in their arteries, lowering the risks of heart disease.

According to scientists, the older you grow, the higher the chances are in suffering from coronary heart diseases. Atherosclerosis patients are at higher risk of heart attacks, strokes or even death, due to the plaque buildup inside the arteries

The researchers found that increasing the levels of a newly identified protein, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) that helps prevent arteries from clogging and may reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Assistant research professor Yusuke Higashi, the lead author of the study said, “The body already works to remove plaque from arteries through certain types of white blood cells called macrophages.”

Higashi further explained, “However, as we age, macrophages are not able to remove plaque from the arteries as easily. Our findings suggest that increasing IGF-1 in macrophages could be the basis for new approaches to reduce clogged arteries and promote plaque stability in ageing populations.”

The scientists have made their mind to examine the possible anti-atherosclerosis effects of IGF-1 in macrophages, given that it is a key player in the development of atherosclerosis.

Patrice Delafontaine from University of Missouri School of Medicine said, “Our current study is one of the first ever to examine a link between IGF-1 and macrophages in relation to vascular disease.”

“We examined mice whose macrophages were unresponsive to IGF-1 and found that their arteries have more plaque build-up than normal mice. These results are consistent with the growing body of evidence that IGF-1 helps prevent plaque formation in the arteries,” Delafontaine further noted.

The findings also included that the lack of IGF-1 action in macrophages altered the composition of the plaque, reducing its strength and expecting it to rupture and cause a heart attack.

The findings were published in Journal of the American Heart Association.

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