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MOSCOW, May 12 – RIA News. American physicians created special nanowires capable of removing cholesterol plaques and fatty growths in human vessels, and successfully tested their work in mice that suffered from atherosclerosis. The results of the experiments were presented at the ATVB 2018 scientific conference in San Francisco.
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"The development of atherosclerosis can be slowed down with the help of statins and other drugs that reduce the concentration "bad" kinds of cholesterol. On the other hand, statins, as recent experiments show, are not capable of eliminating existing traces of the disease. Our threads can solve this problem"”Says Neel Mnsukhani of Northwestern University in Chicago, USA.
According to WHO statistics, atherosclerosis and concomitant diseases of the heart and blood vessels are one of the main causes of the development of heart attacks and, accordingly, deaths in most countries of the world. As a rule, the disease begins with the accumulation of cholesterol plaques on the walls of the vessels, which after a while leads to their thickening, the accumulation of calcium in them and the loss of flexibility.
While scientists have not found any specific mechanisms for the formation of cholesterol plaques and calcareous deposits in the walls of blood vessels. On the other hand, long-term observations show that smoking, improper diet and lack of regular physical activity significantly increase the chances of their appearance. This, however, does not answer the main question – what to do to people who already have these plaques?
Mansukhani and his colleagues took the first step toward creating a real medicine for atherosclerosis, experimenting with short protein molecules that, when ingested, can assemble themselves into long threadlike chains.
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Scientists have modified them in such a way that their "head" began to resemble the structure of a key part of the protein apoA1, responsible for cleaning the cells of excess fat, including cholesterol. According to biologists, such threads will cling to fatty plaques, tear them from the surface of the vessels and transport them to the liver, where they will disintegrate and gradually be removed from the bloodstream.
Guided by this idea, scientists have introduced a solution of such filaments into the body of several mice that have removed the LXR gene responsible for the normal processing of cholesterol. If such rodents are fed fatty foods, they quickly develop atherosclerosis and they die as a result of aortic overgrowth with cholesterol plaques.
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As experiments have shown, the introduction of even small doses of protein strands in just eight weeks reduced the number of cholesterol plaques by 9% and 11% in all parts of the circulatory system of mice and markedly prolonged their life.
Mansukhani and his colleagues hope to begin preclinical and clinical trials of this medicine in the near future. At the same time, scientists emphasize that it is not worth waiting for that their drug will appear in pharmacies already tomorrow – it will take several more years to check its safety and effectiveness.