Granzyme B, Atherosclerosis, Longevity

From the newswires: researchers uncovered "new knowledge of granzyme B, an enzyme that plays an important role in the immune system. ... levels of granzyme B were significantly elevated in patients with atherosclerosis. ... this enzyme's expression was blocked, atherosclerosis could be reduced by over 70 per cent [in mouse models]. Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of most heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms and complications arising from diabetes. It is the world's leading cause of death in those over 60. ... granzyme B may play a role in hair loss and aging. During experiments in which the expression of this enzyme was blocked in mice they did not appear to age, developed much denser fur and had a significantly longer lifespan. Granzyme B is released by many immune cells to target and destroy virus-infected cells. Until recently, it was thought that immune cells delivered granzyme B directly into cells targeted for destruction. ... in certain conditions it is also released by immune cells into the space around healthy cells and in the plasma. When this occurs, it destroys key structural proteins that surround the healthy cells, [like] termites eating away at the infrastructure of a home. This can lead, for example, to a loss of the structural integrity and elasticity of blood vessels and ultimately, atherosclerosis."

Link: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/November2007/05/c4301.html

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