Scientists find surprising link between mitochondrial DNA and increased atherosclerosis risk

LA JOLLA— Mitochondria are known as cells’ powerhouses, but mounting evidence suggests they also play a role in inflammation. Scientists from the Salk Institute and UC San Diego published new findings in Immunity on July 26, 2022, where they examined human blood cells and discovered a surprising link between mitochondria, inflammation and DNMT3A and TET2—two genes that normally help regulate blood cell growth but, when mutated, are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Human blood cells following reduced expression of the gene DNMT3A. The cell nuclei (large green structures) inside the cytoplasmic protein (red). Some mitochondrial DNA (small green dots) has escaped into the cytoplasm, inducing an inflammatory response.
Human blood cells following reduced expression of the gene DNMT3A. The cell nuclei (large green structures) inside the cytoplasmic protein (red). Some mitochondrial DNA (small green dots) has…
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