Scientists are studying White Leghorn chickens which have similar cholesterol levels to humans to understand atherosclerosis- the build-up of cholesterol in arteries. It triggers coronary artery disease, the number one killer in the United States, in which accumulations of cholesterol called plaques form on artery walls.
Due to a buildup of plaque which hardens arteries, atherosclerosis can lead to complications, such as heart attack or stroke. Researchers breed Japanese quail to increase their susceptibility to dietary-induced atherosclerosis to understand the role of fatty foods in cardiovascular disease.
Researchers at Washington State University are studying grizzly bears raised in captivity to figure out how the bears’ hearts undergo such dramatic and helpful changes during hibernation. Understanding how the physical and chemical changes occur that allow grizzly bears to avoid blood clots and ruptured arteries could lead to breakthroughs in long awaited treatment for human heart disease.