Inflammatory hormones risk with glucose-gobbling immune cells hidden in the plaque of coronary artery disease CAD patients
We think coronary artery disease CAD (or clogged arteries or coronary heart disease CHD) is due to high fat and oily foods that we eat such as french fries, dairy products, meat and hamburgers. But a study done by the researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California shows the reason for the clogged arteries is the disease associated with our immune system.
Researchers say some defective immune cells consuming more sugar is the root cause of coronary artery disease (CAD). They say defective immune cells (a type of white blood cells that fights infections in our body) hiding in the plaque of the arteries tend to consume more sugar or glucose from the blood. They produce a hormone called interleukin-6 (or IL-6), which is associated with inflammation. Researchers think this defective immune response is the reason for the coronary artery disease (CAD) condition. The interleukin-6 hormone was also associated with the increased stress levels in the body.
Inflammation is a crucial part of our immune system and it is important for the body to recover from cuts, diseases or surgeries. But body's ability to turn off the inflammation is also important. Earlier studies found that chronic inflammation plays a role in the development of coronary artery disease (CAD) ( or coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary atherosclerosis) and rheumatoid arthritis. But studies failed to find out the mechanism behind the development of the disease and chronic inflammation.
Researchers examined blood of 105 healthy patients and 140 coronary artery disease (CAD) patients (who suffered at least one heart attack). They found that immune cells of CAD patients are consuming more sugar compared with immune cells of healthy patients. Researchers found that the immune cells of CAD patients love sugar (or glucose), consume more sugar but they make mistakes while burning sugar. They produce highly reactive chemicals (free radicals) and damages other parts of the cell (such as proteins and DNA of a cell) resulting in the unhealthy functioning of a cell.
Researchers observed malfunctioning of a protein due to these free radicals. The observed protein normally helps in deriving energy from blood sugar or glucose. Instead, these cells produce more inflammatory hormones (interleukin-6 or IL-6) due to the damage caused by free radicals. Currently, there are no medications to target these immune cells which consume more sugar and causes the production of more inflammatory hormones (interleukin-6 or IL-6). Diet modifications intended to reduce sugar and fat levels may not help in keeping arteries clean without plaque and keeping the heart health in people who are at risk of the CAD. Researchers say regular exercise can regulate blood sugar or glucose levels and can keep arteries clear and healthy. Overindulgence of immune cells can be prevented with physical exercise which forces muscles to absorb excess sugar available in the blood and keeps no extra sugar or glucose in the bloodstream.
Lead author of the study was Cornelia M Weyand, a rheumatologist and immunologist, the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study findings were published online February 29, 2016, in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Title of the article was "The glycolytic enzyme PKM2 bridges metabolic and inflammatory dysfunction in coronary artery disease".
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Published by Jammi Vasista, Chennai, India.