Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Oxford University scientist have discovered the molecular ‘first responder’ which detects disturbances in the flow of blood through the arteries, and responds by encouraging the formation of plaques which can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke and even death.

Atherosclerosis, Cholesterol plaque in artery. 3d illustration

The study, published in the journal Nature, found that mice without this molecule in its right shape don’t have clogged arteries, even when they eat an unhealthy high fat diet.

Atherosclerosis is a potentially fatal disease where fatty plaques clog up the arteries supplying blood to the heart, brain and other organs. These plaques cause the arteries to narrow and can increase the risk of blood clots that could block blood flow to the heart or brain, making it more likely that patients with atherosclerosis will suffer from heart attacks or strokes.

But scientists have known for over 200 years that the plaques don’t form just anywhere in the arteries – they are much more likely to form where the arteries curve or split, causing whorls and eddies in the blood flowing through them.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

Increased risk of some neurological and psychiatric disorders remains two years after COVID-19 infection

New diagnoses of disorders including psychosis, dementia, seizures and ‘brain fog’ remain commoner two years after COVID-19 than after other respiratory infections, whereas the increased risks of depression and anxiety after COVID-19 are short-lived and there is no overall excess of cases.

Sensory Supermarket event helps businesses make public-facing spaces more inclusive for autistic people

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Reading – in collaboration with awareness-raising organisation Sensory Spectacle – are hosting an innovative event called Sensory Supermarket as part of the Sensory Street research project.

Genetic mapping of tumours reveals how cancers grow

Researchers from the University of Oxford, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Science for Life Laboratory, and the Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden, have found that individual prostate tumours contain a previously unknown range of genetic variation.

Tackling suicide risk in people with mental disorders

Clinical researchers from Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, together with colleagues from elsewhere, have developed guidance to help clinicians identify and treat patients at risk of suicide.

Environmental impact of 57,000 multi-ingredient processed foods revealed

A study estimating the environmental impact of 57,000 food products in the UK and Ireland has been published by an Oxford-led research team in the journal PNAS.

Oxford spinout MiroBio acquired by Gilead Sciences for $405m

The inflammatory diseases company’s rapid ascent and exit underscores the importance of friendships, partnerships and networks in innovation.