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Insulin therapy may treat atherosclerotic lesions

Insulin therapy may treat atherosclerotic lesions
10th January 2012

Insulin therapy may be a viable new treatment for atherosclerotic lesions in diabetic patients, according to a recent study.

Research has revealed that insulin applied in therapeutic doses selectively stimulates the formation of new elastic fibres in cultures of human aortic smooth muscle cells.

These results advance the understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of diabetic vascular disease and offer a new treatment pathway to repair atherosclerotic lesions.

Lead researcher Professor Aleksander Hinek of the University of Toronto explained: "Our results particularly endorse the use of insulin therapy for the treatment of atherosclerotic lesions in patients with type I diabetes ... to mechanically stabilize the developing plaques and prevent arterial occlusions."

The cholesterol lowering drugs, statins, are also believed to help treat atherosclerotic lesions.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in humans, researchers were able to show that the drug could remove the fat build-up from atherosclerotic lesions, stabilising the plaque that is most likely to cause a heart attack or a stroke.

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