Plasma proteins, oxygen transport and atherosclerosis

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      In summary, we have presented evidence to support the hypoxic theory for the formation of atherosclerosis. More importantly, though, we have presented the following etiology for such hypoxia:
      • 1.
        (1) Oxygen transport is affected by plasma protein concentrations and in most humans probably decreases with age;
      • 2.
        (2) The result of hypoxia at the aortic lining is a degeneration of surface features which results in increased cellular permeability; and
      • 3.
        (3) The interior structure of the vessel is further disorganized due to the influx of lipids and other plasmatic matter. This in turn accelerates oxygen demand and augments hypoxia.
      These ideas concerning the effects of proteins on oxygen transport, as well as the importance of the diffusion resistance of blood plasma, provide strong indications of a comprehensive mechanism for the occurrence of atherosclerosis and other vascular changes associated with aging.


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