Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease related to the complex inflammatory response triggered by the accumulation of cholesterol and the deposition of cholesterol crystals (CCs). Scientists focus on the use of drugs to increase the solubility and metabolism of cholesterol to clean up the accumulated cholesterol, as a strategy to prevent and treat atherosclerosis. So far, this is the most effective way to prevent such diseases, but the existing treatment options are not effective for all patients. Therefore, finding other new ways to lower cholesterol levels has become an urgent need.
Recently, "Science Translational Medicine" published an article by an international research team from Germany, the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and other countries, reporting a method of using cyclodextrin (CD) to treat atherosclerosis. Cyclodextrin has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a drug solubilizer and is safe for human use. Scientists have found that this compound can increase the solubility of cholesterol, remove it from atherosclerotic lesions, and dissolve cholesterol crystals, and successfully treat atherosclerosis in a mouse model. It is precisely because its safety has been verified that this drug has become a potential drug candidate for the treatment of human atherosclerosis.
The research team tested the efficacy of 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (CD) in preventing and reversing atherosclerosis. They found that even under the condition that atherosclerotic mice were continuously provided with a cholesterol-rich diet, CD treatment could reduce the size and cholesterol load of atherosclerotic plaques, and promote the regression of plaques.
We expect that cyclodextrin, a drug that is "relatively simple in chemistry and relatively safe in vivo", will exert its expected effects in future human experiments and become another specific drug for humans against cardiovascular diseases.