A sugar that freshens air in rooms may also clean cholesterol out of hardened arteries.
The sugar, cyclodextrin, removed cholesterol that had built up in the arteries of mice fed a high-fat diet, researchers report April 6 in Science Translational Medicine. The sugar enhances a natural cholesterol-removal process and persuades immune cells to soothe inflammation instead of provoking it, say immunologist Eicke Latz and colleagues.
Cyclodextrin, more formally known as 2-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin, is the active ingredient in the air freshener Febreze. It is also used in a wide variety of drugs; it helps make hormones, antifungal chemicals, steroids and other compounds soluble. If the new results hold up in human studies, the sugar may also one day be used to liquefy cholesterol that clogs arteries.