„At the heart of the matter: a calculated risk?“ Inaugural Lecture by Prof Gordon Ferns on Heart Disease
Veröffentlicht am 04.03.2016
Cardiovascular disease remains the major cause of death and disability in the UK. The assessment of cardiovascular risk is an important part of ensuring that resources are used most effectively to prevent disease. However, conventional risk factors do not adequately predict which individuals will, or will not, go on to develop cardiovascular disease. The search for new risk markers continues, and their discovery may also provide insights into the cause of disease.
Atherogenesis, the complex process that underlies cardiovascular disease, is characterized by inflammation of blood vessels and autoimmunity. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that are produced during normal metabolism, which can damage proteins within the body. Proteins damaged in this way may be restored to their normal configuration by molecular chaperones that are called heat shock proteins. However, these may themselves be altered during this process, which may in turn lead to an activation of the immune system.
Antioxidant compounds such as vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium have the potential to reduce the effects of free radicals, and have been shown to be effective in both experimental models of atherogenesis and in observational studies. However, the results of antioxidant intervention trials have generally been negative. In this lecture, a hypothesis explaining this apparent paradox is explored.