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Sunday, May 4, 2014

The end of heart disease?

Scientists have discovered a way to block the formation of excess cholesterol that leads to heart disease.

Working with mice and rabbits, Johns Hopkins scientists successfully prevented the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans.

The condition develops when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, greatly reducing their ability to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain.

Working with mice and rabbits, Johns Hopkins scientists successfully prevented the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans.
Working with mice and rabbits, Johns Hopkins scientists successfully prevented the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans.

HOW THEY DID IT

Mice used in the experiments were genetically engineered to lack a protein essential in the breakdown of fats and thus were predisposed to atherosclerosis. 
The researchers fed the animals a high-fat diet over the course of several months, but also gave a third of the animals a low-dose of D-PDMP. 
They gave a double dose of the same inhibitor to another third and placebo to the rest.
These effects were observed in animals on a daily D-PDMP treatment even though they ate a diet made up of 20 percent triglycerides - the human equivalent of eating a greasy burger for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Researchers identified and halted the action of a single molecular culprit responsible for a range of biological glitches that affect the body’s ability to properly use, transport and purge itself of cholesterol — the fatty substance that accumulates inside vessels and fuels heart disease.
 


The offender, the researchers say, is a fat-and-sugar molecule called glycosphingolipid, or GSL, which resides in the membranes of all cells, and is mostly known for regulating cell growth. 

Results of the experiments, the scientists say, reveal that this very same molecule also regulates the way the body handles cholesterol.
The Johns Hopkins team used an existing man-made compound called D-PDMP to block the synthesis of the GSL molecule, and by doing so, prevented the development of heart disease in mice and rabbits fed a high-fat, cholesterol-laden diet.
 
The findings, in the journal Circulation, reveal that D-PDMP appears to work by interfering with genetic pathways that regulate fat metabolism on several fronts - from the way cells derive and absorb cholesterol from food, to the way cholesterol is transported to tissues and organs and is then broken down by the liver and excreted from the body.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2611405/The-end-heart-disease-Groundbreaking-experiment-stops-buildup-cholestereol-inside-blood-vessels.html#ixzz30kzX9K4L
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