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Gene variants linked to metabolic syndrome and HDL cholesterol levels
Date:6/17/2008

Humans have two copies of each chromosome. In this study, people who had the protective variant on only one of their copies of chromosome 7 were less susceptible to metabolic syndrome. But people with two copies of the variant, who were completely deficient in the CD36 protein, did not appear to be protected. They tended to have lower levels of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol.

"A bit less CD36 protein may improve your risk profile, but people need some CD36 function," Abumrad says. "It's like requiring a certain level of fat in the diet. Fatty acids are important for optimal function of many tissues from pancreatic beta cells to skeletal muscle to the heart but too much fat creates a problem."

Love-Gregory and Abumrad found that many variants influenced blood levels of HDL cholesterol. Now they are taking a closer look at the relationship between CD36 and HDL cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL normally are considered positive, but because changes in the CD36 gene seem to influence HDL, the researchers want to make sure that the HDL molecule isn't being altered in composition or function.

"We're going to follow up on the HDL component of the study," Love-Gregory says. "We're also going to look for additional variants in the promoter region of the gene that controls how the gene is regulated. And we're planning to look for evidence of these gene variants and their associations with HDL and the metabolic syndrome in other populations and ethnic groups."


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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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