Scientists alter fat metabolism in animals to prevent most common type of heart disease
Scientists have found a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown that will successfully prevent the development of atherosclerosis, which is the main cause of heart attacks and strokes in humans.
Lead investigator Subroto Chatterjee, Ph.D., a cardio-metabolic expert at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center Current asserted that cholesterol-lowering medications tackled the issue on a single front either by blocking cholesterol synthesis or by preventing the body from absorbing too much of it, but atherosclerosis was a multi-factorial problem that required hitting the abnormal cholesterol cycle at many points.
The Johns Hopkins team used an existing man-made compound called D-PDMP to block the synthesis of the GSL molecule, and as a result it prevented the development of heart disease in mice and rabbits fed a high-fat, cholesterol-laden diet.
The findings reveal that D-PDMP appears to work by interfering with a constellation of genetic pathways that regulated the fat metabolism on multiple fronts from the way cells derived and absorbed the cholesterol from food in a way that cholesterol was transported to tissues and organs and was then broken down by the liver and excreted from the body.
The experiments showed that treatment with D-PDMP led to a drop in the animals' levels of bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein, LDL and a drop in oxidized LDL, a particularly virulent form of fat that formed when LDL encountered the free radicals.
The results also showed that a there was a surge in good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein, HDL, known to counteract the effects of LDL by mopping it up and a significant drop in triglycerides, that was another type of plaque-building fat.
The study has been published in the journal Circulation.
(Posted on 28-04-2014)