Diabetes, Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.  Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Heart Diseases
 Article 222
    Published on August 7, 2017


The risk of inflammation hormones (interleukin-6 or IL-6) with glucose-gobbling immune cells


We think that coronary artery disease (CAD, clogged arteries or coronary heart disease. CHD) is due to the high fat and the oily foods that we eat such as french fries, dairy products, meat and hamburgers. But a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California shows that the reason for the clogged arteries is due to the disease associated with our immune system.

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The risk of inflammation hormones (interleukin-6 or IL-6) with glucose-gobbling immune cells hidden in the plaque of the patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).

Researchers say that the immune cells (defective) consuming more sugar is the root cause of the coronary artery disease (CAD). They say that immune cells (defective) 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 that 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 the ability of the body to turn off the inflammation is also important. An earlier study found that the chronic inflammation plays a role in the development of coronary artery disease (CAD, coronary atherosclerosis or coronary heart disease. CHD) and rheumatoid arthritis. But the study failed to find out the mechanism behind the development of the disease and chronic inflammation.

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Researchers examined blood of 105 healthy patients and 140 patients with coronary artery disease (who suffered at least one heart attack). They found that the immune cells of the patients with coronary heart disease are consuming more sugar compared with the immune cells of the healthy patients. Researchers found that the immune cells of the patients with coronary heart disease are consuming more sugar, but they cause inflammation 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) leading to unhealthy cells.

Researchers found that the free radicals cause malfunctioning of a protein. The protein normally helps in deriving energy from blood sugar (glucose). Instead, these cells produce more inflammatory hormones (interleukin-6 or IL-6). Currently, there are no treatments to target these immune cells that consume more sugar and causes the production of more inflammatory hormones (interleukin-6 or IL-6).

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A regular exercise can regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels and can keep arteries clear and healthy. Diet modifications to lower the blood sugar and fat levels may not help the clogged arteries (without plaque) and the heart health in people who are at a risk of the coronary heart disease (CAD). Overindulgence of immune cells can be prevented with the physical exercise which causes muscles to absorb excess sugar present in the blood causing no extra sugar (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 was 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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Immune cells : A type of white blood cells that fight infections in our body.

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