Specific regions in blood vessels, namely bends and branch-points in arteries, are prone to atherosclerosis, the build up of fatty plaque that can lead to heart attack or stroke. It is now understood that endothelial cells lining the artery alter in response to disturbed blood flow in these regions.
Researchers in Sheffield have shown that production and sensing of the cell-derived molecule ATP increases in endothelial cells exposed to disturbed blood flow. This ATP sensing drives inflammation at these prone sites of the artery. The study provides an important link between the sensing of disturbed blood flow and activation of inflammation that promotes plaque development in cardiovascular disease.
This study has been published in the journal “Cardiovascular Research”