Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

How ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Causes Atherosclerosis in Humans: Stem cells play a Key Role

Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Study translates to humans a finding previously shown in lab animals that could lead to new therapy to use with statins or in place of them.

University at Buffalo translational researchers are developing a richer understanding of atherosclerosis in humans, revealing a key role for stem cells that promote inflammation.

The research was published last month in PLOS One. It extends to humans previous findings in lab animals by researchers at Columbia University that revealed that high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol promote atherosclerosis by stimulating production of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPC’s).

“Our research opens up a potential new approach to preventing heart attack and stroke, by focusing on interactions between cholesterol and the HSPCs,” says Thomas R. Cimato, MD, PhD, lead author on the PLOS One paper and assistant professor in the Department of Medicine in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

He notes that the finding about the importance of these stem cells in atherosclerosis could lead to the development of a useful therapy in combination with statins, or one that could be used in place of statins in individuals who cannot tolerate them.

The study demonstrated for the first time in humans that high total cholesterol recruits stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, via increases in IL-17, which has been implicated in many chronic inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis. IL-17 boosts levels of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF), which releases stem cells from the bone marrow.

They also found that statins do reduce the levels of HSPCs in the blood but not every subject responded similarly, Cimato says.

“We’ve extrapolated to humans what other scientists previously found in mice about the interactions between LDL cholesterol and these HSPCs,” explains Cimato.

The demonstration that a finding in lab animals is equally relevant in humans is noteworthy, adds Cimato, a researcher in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC).

“This is especially true with cholesterol studies,” he says, “because mice used for atherosclerosis studies have very low total cholesterol levels at baseline. We feed them very high fat diets in order to study high cholesterol but it isn’t easy to interpret what the levels in mice will mean in humans and you don’t know if extrapolating to humans will be valid.”

Cimato adds that the degree of increased LDL cholesterol in mouse studies is much higher than what is found in patients who come to the hospital with a heart attack or stroke.

“The fact that this connection between stem cells and LDL cholesterol in the blood that was found in mice also turns out to be true in humans is quite remarkable,” he says.

Cimato explains that making the jump from rodents with very high LDL cholesterol to humans required some creative steps, such as the manipulation of the LDL cholesterol levels of subjects through the use of three different kinds of statins.

The study involved monitoring for about a year a dozen people without known coronary artery disease who were on the statins for two-week periods separated by one-month intervals when they were off the drugs.

“We modeled the mechanism of how LDL cholesterol affects stem cell mobilization in humans,” says Cimato.

The UB researchers found that LDL cholesterol modulates the levels of stem cells that form neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages, the primary cell types involved in the formation of plaque and atherosclerosis.

The next step, he says, is to find out if HSPCs, like LDL cholesterol levels, are connected to cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke.

Co-authors with Cimato are Beth A. Palka, senior research support specialist, Jennifer K. Lang, MD, cardiology fellow and Rebeccah F. Young, research scientist, all of the Department of Medicine and UB’s CTRC.

The research was funded by an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Technique for Studying Cellular Interfaces
The method, used to study cells involved in myelination, provides “a glimpse into the social life of cells” and boosts understanding of myelin diseases such as MS and Krabbe’s leukodystrophy.
Monday, September 21, 2015
E. Coli Can Be Transformed into Antibiotic Factories
Scientists have engineered E.coli to generate new varieties one of the most commonly used antibiotics, Erythromycin.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
A Hybrid Vehicle That Delivers DNA
University at Buffalo researchers are developing new technology to improve DNA vaccines. The new transport system for DNA vaccines could help treat HIV, malaria, HPV and other major illnesses.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Clues to Autoimmune Conditions are Revealed by Genomic Analysis of a Skin Disease
UB researchers’ findings about Pemphigus vulgaris reveal a novel protective mechanism in at-risk individuals who remain healthy.
Monday, September 30, 2013
A Protein's Role in Helping Cells Repair DNA Damage
A new study elucidates the role that a protein called TFIIB plays in supporting the activity of p53, a protein that helps suppress tumors.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Nanotechnology Identifies Peptide "Fingerprint" in both Forms of ALS
A nanospray emitter developed by University at Buffalo chemist has identified a common molecular signature in familial and sporadic forms of ALS.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Engineered Blood Vessels Function like Native Tissue
Researchers says that blood vessels that have been tissue-engineered from bone marrow adult stem cells may serve as a patient's own source of new blood vessels.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Scientific News
Fixing Holes in the Heart Without Invasive Surgery
UV-light enabled catheter is a medical device which represents a major shift in how cardiac defects are repaired.
Chromosomal Chaos
Penn study forms basis for future precision medicine approaches for Sezary syndrome
Enzyme Malfunction May be Why Binge Drinking Can Lead to Alcoholism
A new study in mice shows that restoring the synthesis of a key brain chemical tied to inhibiting addictive behavior may help prevent alcohol cravings following binge drinking.
Key to Natural Detoxifier’s Reactivity Discovered
Results have implications for health, drug design and chemical synthesis.
New Treatment for Obesity Developed
Researchers at the University of Liverpool, working with a global healthcare company, have helped develop a new treatment for obesity.
New Protein Found in Immune Cells
Immunobiologists from the University of Freiburg discover Kidins220/ARMS in B cells and demonstrate its functions.
Will Brain Palpation Soon Be Possible?
Researchers have developed non-invasive brain imaging technique which provides the same information as physical palpation.
Shaking Up the Foundations of Epigenetics
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the University of Barcelona (UB) published a study that challenges some of the current beliefs about epigenetics.
Groundbreaking Computer Program Diagnoses Cancer in Two Days
Researchers have combined genetics with computer science and created a new diagnostic technology can with 85 per cent certainty identify the source of the disease and thus target treatment and, ultimately, improve the prognosis for the patient.
Michigan Researchers Use Raman Spectroscopy
inVia confocal Raman microscope used in the study of various childhood diseases.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos