Scientists at the University of Warwick have discovered that 'good' cholesterol is turned 'bad' by a sugar-derived substance.
The substance, methylglyoxal - MG, was found to damage 'good' HDL cholesterol, which removes excess levels of bad cholesterol from the body.
Low levels of HDL, High Density Lipoprotein, are closely linked to heart disease, with increased levels of MG being common in the elderly and those with diabetes or kidney problems.
Supported by funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and published in Nutrition and Diabetes, the researchers discovered that MG destabilises HDL and causes it to lose the properties which protect against heart disease.
HDL damaged by MG is rapidly cleared from the blood, reducing its HDL content, or remains in plasma having lost its beneficial function.
Lead researcher Dr Naila Rabbani, of the Warwick Medical School, says that: "MG damage to HDL is a new and likely important cause of low and dysfunctional HDL, and could count for up to a 10% risk of heart disease".
There are currently no drugs that can reverse low levels of HDL, but the Warwick researchers argue that by discovering how MG damages HDL has provided new potential strategies for reducing MG levels.
Commenting on the research's implications Dr Rabbani said:
"By understanding how MG damages HDL we can now focus on developing drugs that reduce the concentration of MG in the blood, but it not only be drugs that can help.
"We could now develop new food supplements that decrease MG by increasing the amount of a protein called glyoxalase 1, or Glo 1, which converts MG to harmless substances.
"This means that in future we have both new drugs and new foods that can help prevent and correct low HDL, all through the control of MG."
A potentially damaging substance, MG is formed from glucose in the body. It is 40,000 times more reactive than glucose it damages arginine residue (amino acid) in HDL at functionally important site causing the particle to become unstable.
Glo1 converts MG to harmless substances and protects us. MG levels are normally kept low in the body to maintain good health but they slowly increase with ageing as Glo1 slowly becomes worn out and is only slowly replaced.
Dr Rabbani says: "We call abnormally high levels of MG 'dicarbonyl stress'. This occurs in some diseases – particularly diabetes, kidney dialysis, heart disease and obesity. We need sufficient Glo1 to keep MG low and keep us in good health."
Notes to Editors:
To speak with Dr Rabbani please contact Tom Frew, International Press Officer – University of Warwick; firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)2476575910
The British Heart Foundation (BHF)
For over 50 years we've pioneered research that's transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Join our fight for every heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people's lives.
For more information visit bhf.org.uk.
For more information please call the BHF press office on 020 7554 0164 or 07764 290 381 (out of hours) or email email@example.com.
Tom Frew | Eurek Alert!
On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences