Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research mice help scientists understand the complexities of cholesterol

17.03.2006


Scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues have developed new research mice to help them better understand how the body makes and uses "good" cholesterol to protect against heart attacks and strokes. Their latest findings are reported in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.



"Being able to develop drugs to raise levels of good cholesterol depends on knowing more about the how and where the particles are formed," said John S. Parks, Ph.D., from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "These animals provide the first tools to address these questions."

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is called "good" cholesterol because higher levels are associated with lower risk of heart attacks. Physicians and scientists believe that HDL carries cholesterol away from the blood vessels and to the liver, where it is passed from the body. It may also help remove excess cholesterol from plaque in arteries, slowing the buildup that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.


Parks, a professor of pathology in the Section on Lipid Sciences, is part of a multi-center team that has developed three groups of research mice to investigate the complexities of good cholesterol. These specially developed mice have mutations in a gene (ABCA1) involved in HDL production. The scientists are using them to pinpoint where good cholesterol is produced and how it helps fight plaque buildup. In one group of animals, the ABCA1 gene is selectively deleted in the liver – which means their livers cannot produce HDL. It was through studying these mice that the scientists were able to report in 2005 that the liver is likely the body’s main source of good cholesterol – producing 70 to 80 percent.

Now, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, they report that the intestines are the other source – producing 20 to 30 percent. This finding came from studying mice with the ABCA1 gene deleted in the intestine. Before these findings, scientists had thought that HDL formation occurred throughout the body – rather than coming from specific organs.

Scientists also know that very small amounts of HDL are produced in macrophages, cells in the blood vessel walls that are involved in the formation of plaques. Through studying the third group of mice – which produces no HDL in the vessel walls – the scientists hope to answer a conundrum about this source of good cholesterol. Previous research indicates that while the levels of HDL produced in the vessels are very small, it may play a large role in keeping the vessels healthy.

Knowing exactly what organs produce good cholesterol – and which sources are most important in fighting vessel disease – will allow drug developers to target specific organs to raise HDL levels. Currently, there are few drugs to raise HDL levels, and people who need to raise their HDL levels are advised to get more exercise.

The group will use the mice to evaluate potential drug therapies. Several drugs have been developed that can stimulate the ABCA1 gene to produce good cholesterol, but they aren’t useable in humans because of negative side effects. The scientists hope to learn more about how the drugs work and how they could be improved.

"The animals can help us determine which pathways are affected by drug therapy, which can eventually be translated to human studies," said Parks. "They are a valuable tool in the quest to find a therapy to raise HDL concentrations and retard the development of heart disease."

Parks’s colleagues on the current research are from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, and Institut Pasteur de Lille and Faculte de Pharmacie, France.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>