Breakthrough discovery in preventing atherosclerosis
Zee Media Bureau
Washington: In a significant finding, scientists at Johns Hopkins University have found a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown, successfully preventing the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death in humans.
The condition develops when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, greatly reducing their ability to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain.
The Johns Hopkins team published their study in the journal Circulation on April 7. Researchers said that it had identified and halted the fat and sugar molecule called glycosphingolipid (GSL), responsible for a range of biological glitches, from producing abnormal cholesterol.
In the study, the team used an existing man-made compound called D-PDMP to block the GSL molecule and found that the process prevented the development of heart disease in the experimental mice and rabbits who were fed a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet.
The findings reveal that D-PDMP appears to work by interfering with a constellation of genetic pathways that regulate fat metabolism on multiple fronts. From the way cells derive and absorb cholesterol from food, to the way cholesterol is transported to tissues and organs and is then broken down by the liver and excreted from the body.
“Atherosclerosis is a multi-factorial problem that requires hitting the abnormal cholesterol cycle at many points. By inhibiting the synthesis of GSL, we believe we have achieved exactly that,” said the study's lead investigator Subroto Chatterjee, Ph.D., in a news release.
With Agency Inputs