HOUSTON, June 20 (UPI) -- Inflammation is a two-edged sword -- it helps fight infection, but it can cause atherosclerosis, a risk factor for heart attack, U.S. researchers said.
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Harvard Medical School in Boston said in a report published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology said that the lesions or little sores inside the artery arise and then resolve, often from a very young age. But the mystery is why some lesions do not heal -- causing inflammation.
The researchers found that genetically increasing the production of the pro-resolution signals -- healing the lesions -- would cool down the inflammation and give the "sores" a chance to heal or the atherosclerosis to slow down.
Resolution is not a passive process, it is active and produces specific anti-inflammatory mediators that 'cool down' the inflammatory process, the researchers said.
Some natural mediators that 'cool' this inflammation are derived from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are plentiful in fish and are frequently cited for their beneficial effects on the heart.
Another kind of mediator is triggered by the anti-inflammation drug aspirin, the researchers said.