Can We Prevent Hardening Arteries? (Video)

Study finds molecule tied to atherosclerosis

illustration of artery

A molecule has been discovered that may help prevent plaque buildup inside your arteries.

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This finding emerged from a study led by Eugene Podrez, PhD, a Cleveland Clinic researcher. “We found that lack of this molecule in the body increases atherosclerosis,” Dr. Podrez says.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, occurs when cholesterol and other deposits accumulate on the arteries’ inner walls. Dr. Podrez and his team of researchers learned that if your body lacks this molecule, your chances of developing atherosclerosis increase. Dr. Podrez says the discovery could, one day, lead to new plaque-fighting drugs. “You can start looking for molecules, small molecules that can be used as a drug to control atherosclerosis, and hopefully, this time, we will get there,” Dr. Podrez says.

Dr. Podrez adds that the finding may also be used to prevent the body from storing excessive amounts of cholesterol and collecting in the arteries. “If, in the future, we can find ways to specifically control this particular molecule, it could open ways of preventing atherosclerosis,” Dr. Podrez says.

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Complete findings for this study are in the journal Cell Metabolism.

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