Gene variant reduces cholesterol by two mechanisms

July 2, 2012

High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol increases the risk for coronary heart disease.

A variant in the encoding the protein sortilin is associated with reduced plasma LDL levels and a decreased risk of heart attack.

This variant results in markedly higher sortilin in liver.

Dr. Daniel Rader and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have uncovered a two-pronged mechanism for the change in LDL observed.

Using a mouse model system, the Rader team found that increased liver sortilin is responsible for reducing secretion of APOB, a protein that transports LDL to tissue, and also triggers LDL breakdown.

Both of these effects were dependent on a cellular process known as lysosomal targeting.

Their data provide functional evidence that genetically-increased hepatic sortilin in humans reduces LDL by increasing LDL degradation, thus removing LDL from circulation, as well as decreasing APOB.

Explore further: New advance announced in reducing 'bad' cholesterol

More information: Hepatic sortilin regulates both apolipoprotein B secretion and LDL catabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers grow retinal nerve cells in the lab

November 30, 2015

Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a method to efficiently turn human stem cells into retinal ganglion cells, the type of nerve cells located within the retina that transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain. ...

Shining light on microbial growth and death inside our guts

November 30, 2015

For the first time, scientists can accurately measure population growth rates of the microbes that live inside mammalian gastrointestinal tracts, according to a new method reported in Nature Communications by a team at the ...

Functional human liver cells grown in the lab

November 26, 2015

In new research appearing in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology, an international research team led by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem describes a new technique for growing human hepatocytes in the laboratory. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.