Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well-Known Molecule May be Behind Alcohol’s Benefits to Heart Health

Vessel thickening is reduced in the carotid arteries of mice fed the equivalent of two drinks, compared to no-alcohol controls.

Emily Boynton - ... scientists have discovered that a well-known molecule, called Notch, may be behind alcohol’s protective effects. ... this finding could help scientists create a new treatment for heart disease that mimics the beneficial influence of modest alcohol consumption.

... In the study, published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, scientists found that alcohol at moderate levels of consumption – generally considered one to three drinks per day – inhibits Notch, and subsequently prevents the buildup of smooth muscle cells in blood vessels, which contributes to narrowing of the arteries and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

... At the molecular level, this is the first time anyone has linked the benefits of moderate drinking on cardiovascular disease with Notch,” said David Morrow, Ph.D., an instructor in the Department of Surgery at the Medical Center, first author of the study and an expert on Notch. “Now that we’ve identified Notch as a cell signaling pathway regulated by alcohol, we’re going to delve deeper into the nuts and bolts of the process to try to find out exactly how alcohol inhibits Notch in smooth muscle cells.”

via Well-Known Molecule May be Behind Alcohol’s Benefits to Heart Health - News Room - University of Rochester Medical Center.

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