New work from EID illuminates how our bodies regulate cholesterol levels

Cholesterol study could aid quest for new treatments of cardiovascular disease

New studies by Peter Ghazal and his colleagues in the Division of Pathway Medicine, and published in Biochimie last week, provide fresh insights about how our bodies regulate cholesterol levels. This paper shows that the immune system tunes down cholesterol production in order to fight viral infection, which leads us to ask whether we can manipulate the way that cells produce cholesterol to help fight the spread of viral infections in the future, and to suppress viruses in existing infections.

Link to online paper

By learning how our immune system controls cholesterol levels we might be able to devise new drug treatments to mimic the body’s natural suppression of cholesterol which could enable other essential functions to continue and so limit the side-effects of statin treatment.

Currently ‘statins’ are the most widely used drug in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, and what they do is the equivalent of creating a major road block in the pathway to producing cholesterol. These modelling studies have found that the immune system itself does not cause a road block, but it places ‘speed bumps’ to slow down and therefore lower levels. This is much less harmful and damaging than the major road block of statins seen in many patients

Professor Peter Ghazal (Head of Division of Pathway Medicine)

 

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