Cardiovascular disease resulting from atherosclerosis is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. Inflammation plays a crucial role in atherosclerosis and cholesterol crystals are candidate triggers early in the development of the disease.
Scientists from Bonn in Germany together with scientists from Center of Molecular Inflammation Research (CEMIR) in Trondheim and UiO/OUS Rikshospitalet in Oslo, have in a multi-international collaboration published in Science Translational Medicine that cyclic oligosaccharide 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin dissolve cholesterol crystals and reduces atherosclerotic plaques. This is a promising therapeutic approach for treating atherosclerosis.
Cyclodextrin reprograms the macrophages in an anti-inflammatory manner in addition to increasing cholesterol efflux. The result is prevention of plaque formation and even atherosclerotic plaque regression in mice. Furthermore, biopsies of plaque carotid from humans treated with cyclodextrin showed similar results.
Mice model for atherosclerosis treated with cyclodextrin (CD). Images of the aortic plaques obtained by confocal laser reflection microscopy, scale bar: 500 μm.
The study points to cholesterol crystals as a target for treatment of atherosclerosis and dissolving cholesterol crystals with cyclodextrin may have major impact on treatment of this disease.
Cyclodextrin promotes atherosclerosis regression via macrophage reprogramming, Sebastian Zimmer/Alena Grebe, Siril S. Bakke, Niklas Bode, Bente Halvorsen, Thomas Ulas, Mona Skjelland, Dominic De Nardo, Larisa I. Labzin, Anja Kerksiek, Chris Hempel, Michael T. Heneka, Victoria Hawxhurst, Michael L. Fitzgerald, Jonel Trebicka, Ingemar Björkhem, Jan-Åke Gustafsson, Marit Westerterp, Alan R. Tall, Samuel D. Wright, Terje Espevik, Joachim L. Schultze, Georg Nickenig, Dieter Lütjohann and Eicke Latz, Science of Translational Medicine (Published online April 6th, 2016, Vol. 8, Issue 333, pp. 333ra50)