Ohio State Researchers Explore More Benefits Of Aspirin

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For decades, physicians have been prescribing aspirin for patients experiencing heart attack symptoms or as a preventive measure for those at high risk of cardiovascular disease. A recent study by medical researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center indicates that aspirin may also increase the amount and quality of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol, the body produces, which could have significant benefits beyond its common use. Study results are published in the August issue of the Journal of Lipid Research.

“We were able to show that aspirin might induce the production of the protein components of HDL, which takes cholesterol out of the plaque and moves it back to the liver where it can be utilized,” said Sampath Parthasarathy, a researcher in the division of cardiothoracic surgery at OSU Medical Center. “While aspirin has been used for its anti-inflammatory properties, we are hoping to create a new level of interest in its potential benefits.”

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Parthasarathy is leading a team of researchers, using a five-year, $1.88 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, to continue the study and determine in what other ways aspirin can be beneficial.

Current research in highly-controlled animal experiments has shown that aspirin can increase HDL, while also increasing an anti-inflammatory protein called Paraoxonase 1. Although the typical aspirin dosage is metabolized faster in the bloodstream, it may have lasting effects that, until this point, have gone undetected in research studies.

As humans age, the body produces less HDL and more low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol. This has implications in many aspects of human health, and the potential of developing an aspirin-like compound and determining in what other ways aspirin can be beneficial, holds great promise. Additional research is needed and a controlled clinical study is being considered for the future. Parthasarathy indicated that the findings have implications behind the traditional use of aspirin.

“We are collaborating across disciplines, such as cardiology, endocrinology and cardiothoracic survey, to study this issue,” he said. “We have an opportunity to interact with community physicians and many other stakeholders to look at new ways to utilize compounds found in aspirin and similar compounds.”

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