Blood fats associated with increased artery size in people with MS

The amount of blood fats a person with multiple sclerosis (MS) has could be linked to changes in size of the arteries around their neck and skull, according to a new study.

Researchers wanted to investigate the link found in previous studies which showed cardiovascular health is a factor that affects MS occurrence and progression. The team at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Buffalo, New York, recruited 104 people with MS and 41 healthy participants.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to take cross-section imagery of the carotid artery and vertebral artery, the two main arteries supplying blood to the neck and skull.

The scientists found that lipoprotein, which is a combination of protein and fat that sticks easily to blood vessel walls, had a strong association with artery size in people with MS. Those with higher levels of lipoprotein had larger arteries. There was also a moderate association with age and people with MS. These associations were not observed in the healthy group.

The researchers concluded that high blood fat levels are associated with problems in the arteries of the head and neck in people with MS. They said that while the clinical and pathological significance of this is unknown, it indicates another mechanism of action by which blood fats may interact with MS pathophysiology.