Smoking and elevated cholesterol levels have been shown to increase vascular disease, but these risk factors are absent in many cases. Now, a study appearing in the 26 May 05 issue of Nature (Vol. 435, No. 7041, pp. 502-506) offers proof of another mechanism behind atherosclerosis, a type of vascular disease. The study finds that abnormal metabolism in arterial walls can cause this disorder.
Clay Semenkovich and colleagues designed mice that overexpressed a gene involved in energy production from respiratory oxygen in vascular tissue, thereby disrupting the process. This caused a rise in oxidative stress in arterial walls, leading, in turn, to a rise in blood pressure and atherosclerosis. The authors suggest that nutritional strategies might be designed around this newly discovered mechanism to help fight heart disease in patients.
Clay F. Semenkovich (Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA)
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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