Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Second Coat
17 February 2013

Second Coat

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.

Written by John Ankers

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