News Flash > Cardiovascular Health

 

Blood Vessels "Spit" To Survive

Reported May 27, 2010


(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Scientists have discovered a unique way blood vessels expel debris like blood clots, cholesterol and calcium plaque: they spit.

The study was conducted at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. After analyzing mice, researchers found capillaries spit out blockages by growing a membrane that surrounds it and then shoves it out of the vessel.

Blood vessel cells next to the blockage grew a membrane surrounding the debris. The original blood vessel wall then opened up and spit the debris into the brain tissue, making it harmless. The envelope covering the clot became the new vessel wall. This process completely restores blood flow while saving the vessel and nearby brain cells.

 

 

Aging brains perform this task 30 to 50 percent slower, which scientists say probably results in the death of more blood vessels.

"The slowdown may be a factor in age-related cognitive decline and may also explain why elderly patients who get strokes do not recover as well as younger patients," Jaime Grutzendler, senior author and principal investigator of the study and assistant professor of neurology and of physiology at Feinberg, was quoted as saying. "Their recovery is much slower."

Source: Nature, May 27, 2010