A discovery that illuminates the behaviour of certain cells within blood vessels could lead to new treatments for atherosclerosis.
Researchers at Cornell University unearthed important clues in the underlying causes of atherosclerosis, which may allow for the development of more targeted drug therapies for the disease.
Cynthia Reinhart-King, lead author of the study, stated: "One of the things we wanted to do was understand how aging is linked to atherosclerosis, and how the mechanism of vessel stiffening plays into the link."
Researchers showed that by changing the behaviour of endothelial cells in hardened vessels, without reducing stiffness, they could limit the effects of aging on vessel health.
Endothelial cells were manipulated during the study by dulling the vessels' inflammatory response to stiffening by tricking the cells in the blood vessels into thinking that they were not stiff.
Dendritic cells are also thought to protect against atherosclerosis and, combined with Cornell University's discovery, may greatly improve treatment pathways for patients.
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