High-protein diet affects circulation

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Science  14 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6479, pp. 753-754
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6479.753-e

Diets that are high in protein can be used to promote weight loss. The downside is that recent evidence suggests that high dietary protein is associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, particularly atherosclerosis. Zhang et al. fed pro-atherogenic mice a high-protein diet and found that more atherosclerotic plaques formed. They observed that the resulting high concentrations of amino acids in the blood activated mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques. mTOR integrates numerous amino acid–sensing pathways, and its activation in macrophages leads to the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria and apoptosis. This work provides important mechanistic insight into how dietary nutrients can influence systemic homeostasis.

Nat. Metab. 2, 110 (2020).

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