Cholesterol :: New insight into how low HDL causes heart disease

Researchers have found that one of the reasons people with low HDL ? a molecule that helps eliminate excess cholesterol from arteries ? are at risk of developing heart disease could be a defective version of a protein called ABCA1.

People with familial low HDL, or hypolipoproteinemia, have an impaired ability to transport cholesterol out of their cells, which leads to an accumulation of cholesterol in many tissues.

For some of these individuals, the disease is due to mutations in proteins called ATP-binding cassettes (ABCs) that transport lipids and other molecules inside and outside cells, but for many affected individuals, the causes of the disease is still not well known.

Marja-Riitta Taskinen and colleagues examined how the first steps of the transport of cholesterol into the liver were disturbed in individuals with familial low HDL. The scientists compared the gene expression of ABC proteins in low HDL and control subjects and found that the genetic expression of ABC proteins was increased in low HDL subjects, indicating that these ABC proteins may be abnormally produced in the affected individuals.

Article: “Common ABCA1 variants, HDL levels and cellular cholesterol efflux in subjects with Familial low-HDL,” by Aino Soro-Paavonen1, Jussi Naukkarinen, Miriam Lee-Rueckert, Hiroshi Watanabe, Elina Rantala, Sanni Soderlund, Anne Hiukka, Petri T Kovanen, Matti Jauhiainen, Leena Peltonen, and Marja-Riitta Taskinen

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