-- Alan Mozes
TUESDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- New animal research has
identified a sequence of genetic material that appears to stabilize
levels of so-called "good" cholesterol, at least in mice.
Working with mice and primates, the study team found that the
sequence in question -- labeled "miR-33a" -- helps to regulate
cholesterol by serving as a kind of "off" switch for certain
Specifically, the sequence was found to inhibit production of
three proteins, thereby limiting the amount of circulating
high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol found in the body.
In turn, if the sequence is "silenced," HDL levels go up,
according to study co-authors Katey Rayner and Kathryn Moore, both
of New York University Medical Center in New York City.
Rayner and Moore are slated to present their findings Tuesday in
Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Heart
Their observations are part of an effort to develop new
treatments designed to elevate HDL levels.
Working with mice suffering from coronary artery disease, the
researchers found that inhibiting the identified sequence prompted
a 36 percent rise in HDL levels.
What's more, the effort also appeared to achieve some measure of
reversal of atherosclerosis in the mice, with a reduction in
lesions of 35 percent.
Both findings suggest that the sequence could prove to be an
optimal target for the development of future HDL-raising drug
Experts note that research presented at meetings isn't subjected
to the same type of scrutiny that research published in
peer-reviewed journals undergoes. And research in animals often
doesn't translate into success in human studies.
For more on good cholesterol, visit the
American Heart Association.
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