Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stanford researcher studies newly discovered ’good’ cholesterol gene

04.02.2003


Stanford University Medical Center researchers have found that a recently discovered gene regulates HDL (high density lipoproteins) cholesterol, also known as "good" cholesterol. The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to new therapies for heart disease, said lead author Thomas Quertermous, MD.



"This is a significant and unexpected finding, and the gene is going to be a real target for the prevention and treatment of heart disease," said Quertermous, the William G. Irwin Professor and chief of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. "This type of thing doesn’t happen every day."

HDL cholesterol, often referred to as the "good" cholesterol, has been proven to impact a person’s risk of developing heart disease. "HDL cholesterol is an independent predictor of one’s risk," said Quertermous. "If you have a high level of HDL cholesterol your chance of getting heart disease is very low."


Researchers know that levels of HDL cholesterol are regulated in part by members of the lipase gene family. Three years ago, Quertermous’ team and a laboratory on the East Coast simultaneously discovered the newest member of that family and found that its protein was expressed in a variety of tissues. Subsequent studies showed that the new gene - the endothelial lipase gene (LIPG) - played a role in lipid metabolism.

"It was a striking, if not dramatic, finding that this gene that we found in the blood vessel walls appeared to regulate HDL cholesterol levels," said Quertermous.

Quertermous’ team sought to examine the gene’s exact role in regulating HDL cholesterol level by examining genetic models with altered levels of endothelial lipase (EL) expression. Working with mouse models, the researchers increased EL expression in one group by inserting copies of the human gene and decreased EL expression by knocking out the LIPG gene in another group.

Quertermous reports that the findings were striking: Altering the genes showed a clear and significant inverse relationship between HDL cholesterol level and EL expression. Levels of HDL cholesterol decreased by 19 percent in the first group and increased by 57 percent in the group whose gene was knocked out.

"When we overexpressed the human gene in the mice, the HDL cholesterol levels dropped," said Quertermous. "Conversely, when we knocked out the gene in mice, the levels were much higher."

Quertermous said that his team lacks insight into the mechanism by which EL impacts HDL cholesterol levels, and that this is something his team will explore. The group will also further study mouse models, and a group of human patients, to see if changes in HDL cholesterol levels directly correlate with heart disease. "My hypothesis - and strong suspicion - is that if you knock out the gene, your chance of disease development is decreased," said Quertermous.

Quertermous said a greater understanding of this gene’s role in HDL cholesterol’s formation and metabolism will help researchers regulate this risk factor. "This becomes one of the most attractive targets available for the development of pharmaceutical agents to modulate HDL cholesterol levels," he said.


The research was done at the Donald W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at Stanford, which was established with a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Quertermous’ collaborators on the study include Allen Cooper, MD, professor of medicine at Stanford, and researchers at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

PRINT MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Brandt at (650) 723-0272 (mbrandt@stanford.edu)
BROADCAST MEDIA CONTACT: Neale Mulligan at (650) 724-2454 (nealem@stanford.edu)

Michelle Brandt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://mednews.stanford.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>