Working out ways to reverse atherosclerosis
The Role of Abcg1 in Atherosclerotic Plaque Regression
Gillian Douglas (lead researcher)
Oxford, University of
Start date: 07 September 2015 (Duration 1 year)
Dr Gillian Douglas at the University of Oxford is working out if atherosclerosis, the process where arteries becoming furred up with fatty material and harden to form a plaque, can be reversed.
Plaque rupture can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Scientists used to think that when plaques become advanced, they could not be reversed by drugs. But we now know that atherosclerotic plaques in certain conditions can shrink in size - this is called plaque regression. We don’t know much about plaque regression, mainly because we don’t have good enough models to study it.
The REVERSA mouse is a special type of mouse with atherosclerosis, where high cholesterol levels can be reduced using a genetic switch and atherosclerosis improves. Dr Douglas and her team have developed a method to study the role of individual genes in plaque regression using this mouse. They will study a gene called ABCG1, which is important in cholesterol transport and removes cholesterol from fat-laden immune cells called foam cells that are involved in atherosclerosis. They will investigate if ABCG1, or the molecules it influences, are important in atherosclerosis regression and if they could be a potential target for new drugs to treat the condition.
This work will improve our understanding of atherosclerosis regression and could help in the development of new drugs to prevent or treat it.
||07 September 2015
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