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Research explains link between cholesterol and heart disease
Date:9/18/2007

he aorta and other vessels from damage caused by a variety of factors, including hypertension and high blood cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol, however, suppresses the responsiveness of cardiovascular cells to TGF-beta and its protective qualities thus allowing atherosclerosis to develop. Similarly, the research found that statins, drugs that lower cholesterol levels, enhance the responsiveness of cardiovascular cells to the protective actions of TGF-beta, thus helping prevent the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Dr. Huang believes that this research could lead to the development of novel and effective therapies to treat or prevent atherosclerosis.

For example, drugs that enhance or promote the protective activity of TGF-beta in cardiovascular cells should be effective in treating or preventing atherosclerosis, alone or in combination with other cholesterol-lowering agents.

In addition, the findings also suggest answers to questions about other diseases associated with high blood cholesterol levels, including cancer. For example, why are patients with high cholesterol also prone to develop cancer" And why does drug therapy to lower blood cholesterol correlate with a lower incidence of some cancers, as has been previously reported"

TGF-beta, it turns out, is a well- known tumor suppressor, and loss of TGF-betas protective effects caused by high blood cholesterol could thus increase formation of these cancers, the findings suggest.

We believe the effects of our research could be far-reaching and of great interest to the pharmaceutical, academic and clinical communities, Dr. Huang said.


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Contact: Donn Walker
dwalke18@slu.edu
314-977-8015
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

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