Findings in science advance understanding of intestinal cholesterol pathway and action of Zetia, a cholesterol absorption inhibitor complementary to statin therapy
In a major advance in understanding the intestinal pathway for cholesterol absorption and the mechanism of action for ZETIATM (ezetimibe), scientists at Schering-Plough Research Institute (SPRI) have identified and characterized a long sought protein critical to intestinal cholesterol absorption. In an article published in the Feb. 20 issue of the journal Science, Schering-Plough scientists report on the identification of the protein, named NPC1L1, as playing an essential role in the ezetimibe-sensitive cholesterol absorption pathway.
Cholesterol levels in the blood are largely controlled through two sources in the body: the liver, which synthesizes (produces) cholesterol, and the intestine, where cholesterol is absorbed into the blood stream. "By demonstrating the function of the NPC1L1 protein, scientists at SPRI have made a significant advance toward deciphering the cholesterol absorption pathway in the intestine, which has eluded scientists for some time," said Cecil B. Pickett, Ph.D., president, SPRI. "This discovery reflects the successful integration of new technologies, including genomics and bioinformatics, into discovery research and scientific excellence by a team of SPRI scientists representing a variety of disciplines."
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