Kupffer Cells in the Liver Play A critical Role In Preventing Atherosclerosis, study Shows

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Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that Kupffer cells in the liver play a vital role in removing excess cholesterol from the blood, potentially preventing atherosclerosis, a leading cause of heart disease.

High levels of cholesterol leads to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

Cholesterol is crucial for hormone production and cell membrane formation, but high levels, especially LDL cholesterol or “bad cholesterol,” can lead to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, the leading global cause of death, by forming plaques in arteries, which restrict blood flow.

Researchers conducted an experiment in mice to investigate the body’s reaction to sudden increases in cholesterol levels, triggering a “cholesterol bomb.” Lead author Stephen Malin from the Department of Medicine at Karolinska Institutet observed that the liver promptly responded by eliminating some of the excess cholesterol.

The study revealed an unexpected response to excess cholesterol, originating from Kupffer cells rather than liver cells in mice. The immune cells are responsible for detecting and removing harmful substances, including surplus cholesterol. This discovery was corroborated by similar observations in human tissue samples, indicating a widespread biological reaction.

Kupffer cells act as a barrier to high cholesterol level

Malin observed surprisingly that the liver appears to function as the primary barrier against surplus cholesterol, with Kupffer cells taking charge of this task. This discovery underscores the active role of the liver’s immune system in managing cholesterol levels, indicating that atherosclerosis is a systemic condition impacting various organs beyond just the arteries.

This study explores the intricate relationship among the liver, cholesterol, and cardiovascular health, aiming to uncover insights into how organs handle elevated cholesterol levels. The researchers from Karolinska Institutet seek to devise improved approaches for preventing or managing cardiovascular and liver diseases by understanding organ responses to high cholesterol.

Malin explained that their next step involves examining the responses of various organs to surplus cholesterol, as well as their interactions with the liver and blood vessels in the progression of atherosclerosis. Such investigations hold the potential to facilitate the development of comprehensive and efficacious approaches in tackling this prevalent and life-threatening ailment.

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