Cut Calories To Prevent Deadly Blood Vessel Bursts

Calorie intake could be an effective, yet simple way for the early prevention of abdominal aortic aneurysms.

AsianScientist (Oct. 10, 2016) – Caloric restriction could help you to lose weight—and, as researchers in China have found—may be beneficial for those at risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) as well.

According to their study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, mice placed on a low-calorie diet are less likely to develop an AAA, which is a localized enlargement of the main artery in the abdomen caused by a weakening of the blood vessel wall.

The problem is that if the aneurysm bursts, the mortality rate can be as high as 80 percent. The high mortality of AAA rupture, coupled with limited management strategies, means that prevention is of prime importance for patients at risk.

According to corresponding author Dr. Liu De-Pei from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, it is relatively well-accepted that a calorie-restricted lifestyle is effective in reducing the risks of metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis and some cancers. Thus, the researchers set out to explore its effects on AAA in mouse models.

“We placed mice prone to developing AAA on a calorie-restricted diet for 12 weeks, and found that the animals were less likely to develop aneurysms than control mice fed a normal diet,” Liu, who led the research together with Dr. Chen Hou Zao, told Asian Scientist Magazine. “The calorie restricted mice also showed lower rates of AAA rupture and death.”

From left to right: Lab members Drs. Xie Yan, Zhang Ran, Liu Yue, Liu De-Pei (principal investigator), Wang Ting-Ting and Ding Yang-Nan. Credit: Liu De-Pei
From left to right: Lab members Drs. Xie Yan, Zhang Ran, Liu Yue, Liu De-Pei (principal investigator), Wang Ting-Ting and Ding Yang-Nan. Credit: Liu De-Pei

According to Liu, the researchers observed that calorie restriction reduced the levels of an enzyme called MMP2 that degrades the protein matrix surrounding blood vessels. At the same time, they observed that calorie restriction also increased a metabolic sensor protein SIRT1 in blood vessel wall, and that SIRT1 can suppress the expression of multiple genes, including MMP2.

“Our recent findings add an important new item to the growing list of calorie restriction’s benefits,” Liu said.

According to the researchers, these findings implicate that reducing calorie intake holds promise as an effective, yet simple way for early prevention and intervention of AAA, especially in patients who are obese and at an advanced age.

The article can be found at: Liu et al. (2016) Calorie Restriction Protects against Experimental Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms in Mice.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Liu De-Pei.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Coming from a design background, Filzah brings a fresh perspective to science communications. She is particularly interested in healthcare and technology.

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