Montreal, February 16, 2011 Recent studies conducted at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montral (IRCM) on a group of PCSK enzymes could have a positive impact on health, from cholesterol to osteoporosis. A team led by Dr. Nabil G. Seidah, Director of the Biochemical Neuroendocrinology research unit, has published six articles in prestigious scientific journals over the past four months, all shedding light on novel functions of certain PCSK enzymes.
PCSK enzymes belong to the proprotein convertase family, responsible for the conversion of an inactive protein into its active state. The latest projects led by Dr. Seidah and his team focused on five of the nine PCSK enzymes, which are implicated in diseases such as cardiovascular and neuroendocrine disorders, cancer, and viral infections.
PCSK9 could help lower bad cholesterol levels
A member of the proprotein convertase family, PCSK9 plays a key role in the regulation of cholesterol. It is involved in causing familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder characterized by high total cholesterol levels in the blood, specifically very high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, which can lead to the early onset of cardiovascular diseases. PCSK9 is thus a target for the treatment of dyslipidemia, which results from an abnormal concentration of lipids (fat) in the blood. It is believed that inhibition of PCSK9 function could lower LDL-cholesterol levels, and such treatments are currently undergoing early phase clinical trials.
"Members of my team, led by Dr. Annik Prat and Dr. Anna Roubtsova, discovered that PCSK9 also regulates fatty acids," explains Dr. Seidah. "They investigated its role in the metabolism of body fat, and found that PCSK9 is pivotal in regulating cholesterol and fat metabolism: it maintains high circulating cholesterol levels, but it also limits fat generation."
In another study, the researchers uncovered further data o
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Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal