Carbon monoxide benefits arteries

Tests on mice and rats indicate that the potentially deadly gas carbon monoxide – inhaled at very low concentrations – may help arteries damaged in angioplasty and transplants.

Scientists say it is too soon to say the therapy would help people.

Clogged arteries often are widened by inflating a small balloon inside them. This procedure can damage the cells lining the blood vessel.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Medical School report that exposing rats and mice to low levels of carbon monoxide – the poisonous gas emitted from faulty furnaces or cars left running in garages – prevents this excessive cell growth.

Rats and mice that had angioplasty were exposed to the gas for an hour, before the procedure, while rats with artery grafts were exposed several weeks after their transplants. The level of exposure was less than l/25th of what would be considered toxic.

The animals suffered no ill effects and experiments are now being done in pigs, the scientists reported in the online edition of Nature Medicine.


Leave a Comment