London: Researchers have found how fat molecules in the blood stream interact with blood vessel cells and trigger inflammation, an advance that may lead to better understanding of tissue injury related to kidney damage or heart disease.
The study, published in the journal Nature Immunology, noted that patients with elevated levels of fat molecules called triglycerides in their blood had a significantly higher mortality rate than groups with a similar health history.
The researchers, including those from Saarland University in Germany, said adopting a low-fat diet can significantly extend the life expectancy of high-risk patients, such as those with diabetes or those with high blood pressure.
According to the researchers, blood triglyceride levels rise substantially in people who eat a high-fat diet.
“As a result of biochemical changes, the triglycerides develop toxic properties that activate the body’s innate immune system. This initiates a series of self-destructive processes including those in which the walls of the arteries are attacked and the blood vessels become occluded, reducing blood flow,” explained study co-author Timo Speer from Saarland University.
The study offers a link between the chronic inflammation triggered by high levels of triglyceride in the blood, and secondary diseases such as kidney failure or heart attack.
“We hope that our results will help in developing new strategies for treating and preventing these life-threatening diseases,” Speer said.