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Details for Dr Jason Johnson

Personal details
Name Dr Jason Johnson
Job title Senior Research Fellow
Department Bristol Medical School (THS) University of Bristol
Contact details This expert can be contacted via the University of Bristol Public Relations Office.

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work+44 (0)117 331 8092
Qualifications MSc, PhD
Professional details
Keywords atherosclerosis
Areas of expertise My research focuses on atherosclerosis – the build up of fatty material on the lining of arteries to form “plaques” that can partially block the artery and reduce blood flow. Heart attacks and strokes are primarily caused by cracking of these plaques. Exactly what causes the plaques to rupture is not known, and forms the basis of my Fellowship.

The fatty material forming the plaque (blockage) consists of different types of cell, and one type of cell, macrophages, may contribute not only to plaque formation, but also to their cracking.

The macrophages exist in several forms that are both good and bad with respect to plaque formation and cracking. Bad macrophages have an increased capacity to grow and divide into more cells, increasing the size of the plaque, but may also trigger death of smooth muscle cells that normally stabilise plaques. The bad macrophages “destabilise” the plaques, and promote cracking.