Targeting a specific protein in smooth muscle cells may dramatically reduce atherosclerotic plaque formation


June 21, 2022

Dianna Milewicz, MD, PhD, and co-author Zhen Zhou, MD

Dianna Milewicz, MD, PhD, and co-author Zhen Zhou, MD, were part of a team that found targeting a protein in smooth muscle cells can block and decrease buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in mouse models. (Photo by UTHealth Houston)

A new study shows targeting a protein in smooth muscle cells can block and decrease buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in mouse models, according to researchers with UTHealth Houston.

The study was published today in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Atherosclerosis is a common condition that develops when plaque builds up inside the arteries. Diseases linked to atherosclerosis, such as coronary artery disease, are the leading cause of death in the United States, and nearly half of Americans with the condition don’t know they have it. Atherosclerosis can affect most of the arteries in the body, including arteries in the heart, brain, arms, legs, pelvis, and kidneys.

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Written by: Jeannette Sanchez, UTHealth Media Relations
June 16, 2022


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