High blood pressure isn’t the only risk that fatty foods pose to our blood vessels. Building slowly over decades, a lining, or plaque, of cholesterol can leave our vessels inflamed, delicate and prone to rupture. Tackling this condition, known as atherosclerosis, is like trying to repair a fragile underground pipe while the water is still flowing – but there may be a clever solution. Pictured is a slice through a blood vessel from a mouse with a condition similar to atherosclerosis. The cells lining the vessel are highlighted in blue with their stretchy protein, elastin, shown in green. The inside of this troubled vessel has been ‘painted’ with a man-made gel (coloured yellow) purposely designed to stick to the vessel walls. Once in place, the gel releases drugs to both soothe the inflamed plaque (highlighted by the cells in red) and protect the vessel wall from further damage.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.