How do cholesterol and platelets team up to cause blood vessel damage?
Characterising the thromboinflammatory roles of platelet CD36
Khalid Naseem (lead researcher)
Hull, University of
Start date: (Duration 5 Years)
Professor Khalid Naseem and colleagues at the University of Hull are studying how ‘bad’ cholesterol teams up with platelets to cause blood vessel damage that contributes to atherosclerosis, the condition underlying coronary heart disease.
Platelets are blood cells that become sticky and clump together to form blood clots, which stops us bleeding after injury. But platelets can also form blood clots inside blood vessels and, if they block blood vessels supplying the heart or the brain, can cause heart attacks and strokes.
People at risk of heart disease often have higher levels of bad cholesterol, or LDL, in their blood. Professor Naseem has found that LDL cholesterol attaches to a protein on the platelet surface called CD36, which makes platelets become stickier than normal. When this happens, platelets release chemicals that cause inflammation and damage the walls of the blood vessels and cause heart disease. But we don’t understand exactly how these dysfunctional platelets promote inflammation in the blood vessels.
In this project, Professor Naseem will work out how LDL activates platelets and will identify which inflammatory chemicals are released. He’ll find out how these chemicals cause the blood vessel wall to malfunction.
This research will reveal how bad cholesterol and platelets combine to cause inflammation in blood vessels and may reveal new ways to prevent this happening in heart disease.
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