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04

May

2018

04

May

2018

Suggesting that the Gut Microbiome Contributes to Atherosclerosis

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Researchers here report a correlation that suggests age-related changes in gut bacterial populations may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. This is a condition in which damaged lipids in the bloodstream produce an inflammatory overreaction in blood vessel walls. The macrophages that arrive to help clear up damage are overcome and die, producing more inflammation and cellular debris. Over years this grows into fatty plaques that narrow and weaken blood vessels, eventually resulting in catastrophic structural failure or blockage. How might bacteria in the gut contribute to this process? The most plausible mechanisms involve secretion of compounds that encourage chronic inflammation or oxidative stress, changing cell behavior in ways that drives the creation of more of the damaged lipids that spur atherosclerosis. While a range of evidence supports such a role for the compounds mentioned below, this is an area of research in which much remains to be conclusively proven.

Researchers have shown a novel relationship between the intestinal microbiome and atherosclerosis, one of the major causes of heart attack and stroke. This was measured as the burden of plaque in the carotid arteries.

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