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Antibodies stabilize plaque in arteries

Antibodies stabilize plaque in arteries

A recent study, led by researchers at CMM, shows that type IgG antibodies play an unexpected role in atherosclerosis. The researchers hope that the results will eventually lead to improved therapies.

The team behind the present study has studied how atherosclerotic plaque develops in mice that lack antibodies.

“We found that plaque formed in an antibody-free environment was unusually small,” says study leader Stephen Malin, senior researcher at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medicine in Solna. “But on closer inspection, we discovered that the plaque looked different and contained more lipid and fewer muscle cells than normal. This suggested that the plaque is unstable and more prone to rupturing, which also turned out to be the case.”

“It came as a huge surprise to us that antibodies can play such an important role in the formation of arterial plaque,” says Dr. Malin. “We now want to find out if it is some special type of IgG antibody that recognizes plaque components. If so, this could be a new way of mitigating atherosclerosis and hopefully reducing the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease.”

Stephen Malin and Monica Centa

Last author Stephen Malin and first author Monica Centa. Photo: Alessandro Gallina

 

The study Germinal center-derived antibodies promote atherosclerosis plaque size and stability was published in the scientific journal Circulation, 21 March 2019.

Read more at Karolinska Intitutet website.

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