Friday, July 22, 2016

Antibodies to stop Heart disease!

Hello everyone!

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most leading causes of death in the world today, with major risk factors not merely high cholesterol and high blood pressure but also the actual lesions being directly responsible for the disease- Atherosclerotic plaques.
Antibodies that help the immune system remove dead and dying cells have been shown to reduce atherosclerosis. 
Read further to know the "how" of that.. :D

Heart disease may be driven by our immune system's inability to "take out the trash". 

 Immune cell malfeasance

The atherosclerotic plaque is actually a collection of dead or dying cells along the arterial wall, that build up over years and result in rupture, thus leading to heart attack and stroke!
Many cells in our body feature a "don't eat me" signals on their surface, called CD47. The protein tells the immune system that the cell is alive, performing its normal functions and is a part of person's healthy tissue.Normally, as cell approaches its death, these proteins start disappearing, exposing the cell to macrophages' garbage-disposal service. 
Then why is plaque formed and not eaten up by the macrophages and other immune cells? Even the lesions also contain dead macrophages and other vascular cells that should have been cleared long time ago.

CD47 in Atherosclerosis

High levels of CD47 in the plaque correlates with elevated levels of pro-atherosclerotic factor, called TNF-alpha. This factor preserves CD47 molecule which prevents macrophages from clearing off all the dying cells in the lesion. These cells release substances that promote the production of even more TNF-apha in nearby cells.

Blocking the CD47 molecule by injecting anti-CD47 antibodies induces clearance of dead cells and counter the build-up of the plaque, making it less vulnerable to rupture.So, an anti-inflammatory vaccine is being developed to reduce heart attacks and stroke in high risk patients.

Thats all!

- Jaskunwar Singh

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