Cholesterol crystals cause mechanical damage to biological membranes: a proposed mechanism of plaque rupture and erosion leading to arterial thrombosis.

Cholesterol crystals may promote arterial thrombosis via arteriosclerotic plaque disruption and erosion.

This study was carried out to determine how cholesterol crystals cause plaque rupture. Researchers conducted two in vitro experiments separately to determine the volume changes from the crystallization of cholesterol from liquid to solid and the effect of this volume change on biological membranes.

They discovered that an increase in volume of cholesterol during crystallization. The expanding cholesterol crystals were found to pierce through biological membranes in this study. The findings of this study reveal that cholesterol crystals are associated with ruptured and eroded arteriosclerotic plaques, the major cause of clinically significant arterial thrombosis in cardiovascular conditions.

Research Summary Information

  • 2005
  • Abela GS, Aziz K.
  • Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824 , USA. george.abela@ht.msu.edu
  • Yes, Free full text of study was found:
  • Source of funding disclosure found
  • Michigan State University. Grant Number: IRGP147 National Institutes of Health. Grant Number: R01:HL067472
  • No potential conflicts disclosure found
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