UC research could find ways to boost good cholesterol
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A team at the University of Cincinnati announced that they have discovered a critical breakthrough in “HDL” or “Good Cholesterol” which protects against heart disease.
When fat accumulates in the vessels of the body, it blocks them off, raising heart attack risk. To unblock it, people need more of a structure of the main building block of “HDL” or “High Density Lipoprotein.”
“We think that HDL actually goes in and takes some of that fat out of those vessels and pulls it back out and degrades it in other ways,” said Dr. Sean Davidson, a University of Cincinnati Lipid researcher.
But finding a way to get HDL to go up in your blood is a bit of a mystery, or at least it was until the team started working with several others all over the world.
“You have to start from the beginning and then we added about 40 years’ worth of data, to kind of create this overall consensus model of what it looks like in its most basic state,” said Dr. John Melchior.
“Basically, this is the structure of the protein before it makes HDL,” said Dr. Melchoir.
By discovering the structure, the scientists have launched a new foundation for how it attracts fat to filter it out of the body.
While they are clear that there are several more steps, before people can actually use this in day to day clinical care, it is very clear that this is the first step in finding out more about potential changes in lifestyle and maybe even for newer medications that could alter the number of heart attacks we experience every year.
While the headline in the Journal Nature Structure and Molecular Biology is complex, but theory of what they can test now is much simpler.
Developing drugs that target HDL and get your body to make more of those particles faster, in different ways.
There is no word on how soon this will happen, but they have continued support.
The research is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.