Zebrafish model of atherosclerosis.
A study using genetically modified zebrafish to visualize early events involved in development of human atherosclerosis describes an efficient model – one that the researchers say offers many applications for testing the potential effectiveness of new antioxidant and dietary therapies.
The research, led by scientists from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has been published online by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and will appear in print in the December 1 issue of the journal.
Atherosclerosis is a process of lipid deposition and inflammation in the artery walls. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) that carries “bad” cholesterol in blood is easily oxidized, and oxidized LDL promotes inflammatory responses by vascular cells. Inflamed atherosclerotic plaque can often rupture; this results in a blood clot, obstruction of blood flow to the heart or brain, and heart attack or stroke.
An international team of researchers led by Yury Miller, MD, PhD, of the UCSD Department of Medicine, working with colleagues in Australia, developed an approach to see – literally – the accumulation of oxidized LDL in genetically modified zebrafish fed a diet high in cholesterol. Because young zebrafish are transparent, the researchers were able to study vascular lipid accumulation, lipid oxidation, and uptake of oxidized LDL by macrophages – all in live animals.
Previously inaccessible target sites may be reached for diagnosis and treatment using this material
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed what they believe to be the first polymeric material that is sensitive to biologically benign levels of near infrared (NRI) irradiation, enabling the material to disassemble in a highly controlled fashion. The study represents a significant milestone in the area of light-sensitive material for non-invasive medical and biological applications. Their work is published on line this week in the journal Macromolecules.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the only polymeric material specifically designed to break down in to small fragments in response to very low levels of NIR irradiation,” said Adah Almutairi, PhD, assistant professor at the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Laboratory of Bioresponsive Materials at UC San Diego. “The material was also shown to be well-tolerated in cells before and after irradiation. We think there is great potential for use in human patients, allowing previously inaccessible targets sites to be reached for both treatment and diagnosis.”