-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- A new, "ultra-bad" form of
low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol has been discovered in
people with a high risk for heart disease, according to British
They found that the cholesterol, called MGmin-LDL, is
super-sticky, making it more likely to attach to the walls of
arteries and form fatty plaques, which could lead to heart attacks
The discovery provides a possible explanation for the increased
risk of coronary heart disease in diabetics and could help
researchers develop new anti-cholesterol treatments, the
In the study, which was funded by the British Heart Foundation,
University of Warwick researchers created MGmin-LDL in a lab
through glycation, which is the adding of sugar groups to normal
LDL cholesterol, commonly referred to as "bad" cholesterol. The
process changed the cholesterol's shape, making it stickier and
more likely to build fatty plaques, narrow arteries and reduce
blood flow and turning it into what they called "ultra-bad"
The findings, released online May 26 in
Diabetes, could have significant implications for the treatment of coronary heart disease, particularly in older people and those with type 2 diabetes. Specifically, the researchers said, the results of their study shed light on how a common type 2 diabetes drug, metformin, fights heart disease by blocking the transformation of normal LDL into the super-sticky LDL.
"We're excited to see our research leading to a greater understanding of this type of cholesterol, which seems to contribute to heart disease in diabetics and elderly people," the study's lead researcher, Naila Rabbani, an associate professor of experimental systems biology at Warwick Medical School, said in a university news release.
"The next challenge is to tackle this more dangerous type of cholesterol with treatments that could help neutralize its harmful effects on patients' arteries," she said.
The American Heart Association has more on
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